Orem • Two 4A powers went toe-to-toe Tuesday night as Mountain Crest and Spanish Fork looked to punch their ticket to the 4A winners’ bracket semifinals. The Mustangs wanted to make an early statement and they did just that, riding a dominant first inning and the pitching of Ben Wise to a 6-0 victory.
"When you’re coming out and playing a team like Spanish Fork — just the tradition and history there," Mountain Crest coach Alex Hansen said. "They’re just a phenomenal club, phenomenal organization. We’ve got a lot of pride up at Mountain Crest, too. We feel like it means something to be a Mustang, and we’re proud of the tradition of Mountain Crest baseball as well."
Class 4A baseball
Winners’ bracket semifinals
» Mountain Crest 6, Sp. Fork 0
» Bountiful 14, Skyline 4 (5 inn.)
Thursday (at Utah Valley Univ.)
Winners’ bracket final
» Mountain Crest vs. Bountiful, 11 a.m.
Losers’ bracket final
» Teams TBA, 1:30 p.m.
Friday (At Utah Valley University)
» Teams TBA, 11 a.m.
Storylines » Mountain Crest 6, Sp. Fork 0Mountain Crest’s Ben Wise doesn’t give up a hit over 3 2⁄3 innings.
» The Mustangs’ Luke Smith goes 3-for-4, driving in a run and scoring two.
» Spanish Fork relief pitcher Tanner Nielsen throws 4 2⁄3 shutout innings until giving up two runs in the seventh.
Mustangs leadoff hitter Luke Smith set the tone as the game began, crushing a one-hop double off the wall. Anthony Peterson then plated Smith with a single. Mountain Crest scored three more to give Wise a comfortable 4-0 lead before he ever took the mound.
"That was huge," Hansen said. "Luke Smith’s been a stud all year. He came out — first pitch — and drove the ball hard. He set the tone for the game."
Wise came out to the mound in the bottom of the first relaxed and did not give up a hit for 3 2⁄3 innings. "It’s so relieving," Wise said about the nice early start. "It makes you so much more relaxed and it’s so much easier to throw strikes."
Wise would go on to throw a complete-game shutout with a strong defensive effort behind him.
"That’s been key for us all year. Defense — you know, pitching sets the tone for everything. Our pitchers go out there and attack the zone and our defense — they’ve got a lot of confidence. They can be in the zone and the defense behind them is going to make plays."
Although the Mustangs were held in check after a second-inning pitching change, their early offensive statement was too much for Spanish Fork to overcome.
"I feel like we’ve got a team that’s got the ability to win the state championship, so I wouldn’t want to shoot for anything less," Hansen said.
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