Midvale • Carter Owens barely toes the rubber before unleashing the storm. The right-handed Cottonwood hurler casually looks to the bench to get the pitch signal before loosely winding up and throwing. The umpire’s call is almost predetermined as the fastball, equal parts thunderclap and lightning, slaps into catcher Jake Atkinson’s mitt for a strike.
The senior was nearly perfect in his second outing for the Colts against Hillcrest after being sidelined most of the year while recovering from a hernia. He racked up four strikeouts with only two walks in a five-inning, 16-1 win as Cottonwood outscored the Huskies 36-1 to sweep the series.
Cottonwood 16, Hillcrest 1 (5 innings)
O Cottonwood cranks up the offense, with every Colt in the lineup reaching base.
» Carter Owens, in his second start since a hernia operation, pitches five innings, striking out four and walking two. His fastball hits 83 mph.
» The Colts have six extra-base hits, including home runs from Hunter Smith and Jake Atkinson.
Coach Jason Crawford said Owens’ presence and ability to befuddle hitters is crucial in a state title run. He said Owens has been working hard to get back to his old pitching form and makes a big impact for the Colts on and off the field.
"He gives us a lot more depth on the mound," Crawford said. "He can get the excitement going, giving us the belief that we can win — it’s good to have him back."
Working a fastball that topped out at 83 mph with a curve and change-up, Owens’ command and presence help the Colts as they look to the postseason, Atkinson said.
"He’s a lot of fun to catch. There is so much movement on his ball that you really have to be on your toes with Carter," Atkinson said. "He gets the guys [the defense] involved, putting their [bodies] out there for him and making them want to play hard."
The Colts’ bats started hot and never cooled. Hunter Smith hit an opposite-field homer in the first and Atkinson crushed one over the 30-foot wall in deep left.
"I don’t think I’ve seen a ball hit that hard in high-school baseball," Owens said of his catcher’s two-run shot. "He really got the barrel of the bat on that one."
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