5A baseball: Davis guts out win over West
Bronson Larsen's mohawk remained hidden under his catcher's mask for most of the game.
The bulky Davis backstop boasts a toughness that his teammates try to emulate.
But a scary moment occurred during the fifth inning when a wild pitch caught Larsen under the neck. Larsen threw off his helmet and took a knee while coaches attended to him.
He eventually waved off assistance, assumed his position and called for a Zac Fuller curveball that was popped out to end the inning.
"He's as tough as nails," Davis pitcher Gage Cook said. "He's just awesome for us. He's our rock on defense and our big stick in the lineup. It's good to have him."
The Darts mirrored their senior catcher's toughness by gutting out a 10-7 victory over host West in a Class 5A state baseball playoff opener.
Even with Larsen's firm pitch calling, Davis struggled in the first-round victory. Fuller described it best as "sloppy," but he credited his team for not giving up.
The senior hurler struck out eight but still had difficulty silencing the Panthers' bats. Fuller said his mechanics went haywire, and he realized that he needed to calm down on the mound.
"I just need to buckle down because in games like these, I try to win it all in one pitch," Fuller said. "When I slow it down, that's when I pitch my best."
Cook relieved Fuller in the sixth and managed to end the Panthers' threat. Cook, a ground-ball pitcher, trusted his defense to get him the crucial six outs to score the upset.
"In keeping our composure, we were able to finish this one out," Cook said.
Larsen credited Cook for slamming the door on the Panthers.
"He throws strikes," Larsen said, "and you can't ask for anything more than that."
Davis advanced to travel to Riverton on Wednesday, while West will host Copper Hills.