Orem • It has been 26 years since Bountiful won a baseball state championship. Thanks to electric pitching and timely hitting on Thursday, the Braves now find themselves in the driver’s seat for the Class 4A title after a thrilling 3-2 win over Mountain Crest.
"We haven’t been known as a baseball hotbed, but we’re just proud of who we are, proud of our school and proud of our community, and proud of those who have gone before us," Bountiful coach Clark Stringfellow said. "This is for everybody."
Bountiful 3, Mountain Crest 2
O Bountiful’s Tanner Redding goes six innings, giving up only two hits and one earned run.
» The Braves’ Ryan Stringfellow goes 2 for 3 with one RBI and two runs scored.
At Utah Valley University
Winners’ bracket final
» Bountiful 3,Mountain Crest 2
Losers’ bracket final
» Spanish Fork 16,Mountain Crest 0
» Bountiful vs. Spanish Fork, 11 a.m.
» Rematch, if necessary, 5 p.m.
Both teams initially struggled at the plate, but Bountiful struck first with a gapper to right-center by Ryan Stringfellow that scored one in the third inning.
"Coach [Trevor] Amicone told me to look for a pitch to hit to the opposite field," said Stringfellow. "I just went up with the mentality of, ‘Hit it that way and good things are going to happen.’"
The Braves led by as much as 3-0, as they looked to be cruising behind Tanner Redding, who was pitching a two-hit shutout.
As the bottom of the seventh came, Redding hit the first batter — his third hit batter of the game — so Stringfellow decided to make a change to Parker Depasquale.
"Tanner threw so well and he wanted the ball in his hands and I was just really proud of him for hanging in there," the coach said. "He didn’t want to come out."
Despite the disagreement, Redding was just being a competitor.
"Ah, Parker did a great job," Redding said. "I was just in the moment and wanted to finish it, but it turned out to be the right decision."
Initially, though, with the change, Mountain Crest quickly seized the momentum.
Up by one and desperately needing to make a play to halt the momentum, the Braves got just what they needed, a 5-3 double-play by Ben Fowers.
"We all kind of thrive on each other a little bit," Stringfellow said. "We thrive on each other’s work ethic, and I just think Parker fed off that double-play big time."
That play would prove to be all Depasquale needed, as he would go on to close the door on the Mustangs two batters later.
Now, Bountiful will face Spanish Fork at 11 a.m. on Friday, with an opportunity to shut the door on its 26-year title drought.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.