In the Class 4A baseball playoffs, no early lead is safe, even if it’s eight runs.
Skyline was almost burned by that truth Wednesday night, but was able to thwart Maple Mountain’s gradual comeback for a 10-9 victory in the state tournament’s winners’ bracket quarterfinals.
Winners’ bracket quarterfinals
» Spanish Fork 10, Murray 8
» Mountain Crest 2, Mountain View 1
» Bountiful 6, Salem Hills 5
» Skyline 10, Maple Mountain 9
At Utah Valley University
» Spanish Fork vs. Mountain Crest, 4:30 p.m.
» Bountiful vs. Skyline, 7 p.m.
StorylinesSkyline advances to the semis of the winners’ bracket and will face Bountiful next.
» Anj Bourgeois hits a two-run homer in the first inning to give Skyline its first runs. He finishes with three RBIs.
» Jaren Hall drives in three runs to lead Maple Mountain.
The Eagles, the top-ranked team in The Tribune’s 4A power rankings, took a 9-1 lead in the second inning, but Maple Mountain refused to wilt despite the big deficit. The Golden Eagles chipped away with a run in the third inning, two in the fourth, fifth, and sixth, and the tying run on third base in the seventh.
"I knew at 9-1, it wasn’t enough," Skyline coach Erik Hansen said. "Maple Mountain stung the ball all day long; they just hit it at us."
Indeed, the Golden Eagles drilled 11 of their 13 hits after the second inning, including RBI triples by Jaren Hall and Andrew Wixum. That production got Maple Mountain close, but big defensive plays kept it from catching Skyline.
In the top of the sixth, errors cost the Eagles two runs, and Maple Mountain had runners on second and third with no outs. But Abe Yagi, who had just taken over at shortstop a batter before during a pitching change, snagged a liner and threw to second for a double play. The next batter flew out, and Skyline escaped for the first time.
Then in the seventh, Wixum singled with one out, and the Golden Eagles got a break when a double-play ball caromed off the infield umpire for a hit. But Brock Kennick made a leaping catch of a line drive and almost converted another double play. Maple Mountain managed a run, but it wasn’t enough; the Golden Eagles now move into the losers’ bracket of the tournament.
"You always hear about Maple Mountain and Spanish Fork and all that," Hansen said. "I hope that people know we can play ball down here, too. After last year, after not making the playoffs, we talked about getting our respect back."
Skyline had jumped out to its big lead via a seven-run, nine-hit second inning that included two consecutive bunt singles. Nevertheless, Maple Mountain was undaunted and almost pulled off the comeback.
"We played in the state championship last year, but we had to win twice on Thursday to do it," Maple Mountain coach Gary Miner said. "This year, we’ll have to win twice on Wednesday, but the opportunity is still there. It’s a different road to get to the same destination."
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