What started as a high school baseball game with the score see-sawing between Taylorsville and Cottonwood ultimately ended as an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
And that was between the relievers. Taylorsville (7-3, 4-0 in 2-5A) kicked off a three-game series by outlasting the visiting Colts 8-6 when sophomore Braden DeBenedictis smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Taylorsville 8,Cottonwood 6
O Taylorsville wins on Braden DeBenedictis’ walk-off two-run homer in the 11th.
» Warriors reliever Rylan Shimer pitches five scoreless innings to get the win.
"We saw [Cottonwood pitcher Ty Brophy] last year. He’s got kind of a wacky delivery and it’s hard to pick up on. After a couple of at-bats, you can get it," said DeBenedictis of his shot that cleared the left-field fence.
Until the game-winning shot, the sidearm offerings of Brophy had kept the Warriors’ bats in check for six innings. Entering the game in the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs, Brophy didn’t surrender a hit until Miguel Othon started the 11th with a single.
"[Brophy] kept us off balance and kept us from scoring for a long, long time," Taylorsville coach Jake Brown said. "I was pretty confident we were going to break through at some point. … He made one mistake and we were lucky enough to get on it."
Cottonwood (9-5, 3-1) grabbed a 5-2 lead in the fifth largely thanks to a two-run double by Andrew Goodfellow. But Taylorsville, buoyed by a two-run single from DeBenedictis, answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame to go ahead.
The Colts retaliated in the top of the sixth when Hunter Heugly tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Douglas Orchard to tie the contest at 6-6. In the seventh, Taylorsville opted for pitcher Rylan Shimer to enter the game and Shimer went on to allow four hits spread out over his five innings of shutout work.
"He was great for us, especially when we started making mistakes," Brown said. "We had a lot of chances to score and didn’t. He came back out on the mound and filled it up, strike after strike, and gave us a chance over and over again."
The two squads will meet up again Thursday and Friday. Both the Warriors and Colts started Region 2 play with three-game sweeps over Hunter and West, respectively.
Getting back on the diamond quickly will leave little time for second guessing, although Cottonwood coach Jason Crawford did some of that Wednesday.
"DeBenedictis is a great hitter and we were actually talking about walking him," Crawford said. "We figured we’d go at him because he hadn’t had great swings all day. Kudos to him — he did a good job."
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