Murray • In the precious split-second before it was clear Jake Mafi’s liner would fall, he dropped the bat and began his sprint for first, eagerly following the ball’s flight. It fell in the green grass a moment later, well out of the reach of the oncoming center fielder.
Maple Mountain finally had struck, snagging a two-run lead in the fourth inning of what had been a narrow pitchers’ duel. And it turned out to be all the Golden Eagles needed.
Maple Mtn. 5, Murray 0
O Jake Mafi’s two-run single in the fourth inning provides all the offense Maple Mountain needs.
» Maple Mountain’s Tyler young throws 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
"That’s, like, the best feeling when you know it’s going to fall," Mafi said. "You know you’re going to help your team win a game."
Mafi’s two-run single provided all the necessary offense, and Tyler Young did the rest on the mound, as the Golden Eagles shut out Murray 5-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
The win continued an encouraging start for Maple Mountain, which finished second in Region 8 last year. The Golden Eagles won tournaments in St. George each of the last two weekends, and a win over the defending Region 7 champion Spartans only bolstered their spirits.
"We’re feeling good about this season," Mafi said, smiling, after the game. "We’ll see where it takes us."
Murray pitcher Preston Hannay kept the game close throughout, limiting the Golden Eagles to three runs in 51⁄3. The only damage he allowed was Mafi’s two-run single and a homer in the sixth from Bryson Van Tassel.
But Young was better, keeping Murray’s offense off-balance enough to induce nine groundball outs in 51⁄3 scoreless innings. After the game, however, he admitted to feeling the pressure of being locked in a tight game, where one mistake could have doomed the Golden Eagles.
"The nerves sometimes get to you a little bit," Young said. "It’s more fun to be up by 10 than it is to be close. But it makes your nerves go, makes you feel alive."
Mafi also felt pressure during his decisive at-bat, acknowledging the game was potentially on the line. But when he saw the high-and-away fastball, he struck, finally earning his team — and Young — some breathing room.
"You’ve got to take every at-bat like it’s going to win the game," Mafi said. "That’s what I did, and I put the bat on the ball and hoped for the best."
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