"This run that we've been on, the only people, we feel, that it's surprising is everybody but us," said Chargers coach Daron Connelly, whose program clinched its first-ever appearance in the semifinals. "Our kids have stayed with it. They've worked hard; they've battled. All the credit goes to them."
Timpanogos swept the regular-season series against Corner Canyon by a collective score of 31-3, but the confidence the Chargers displayed certainly didn't mirror those results. They jumped up early, 2-0, with consecutive runs in the second and third inning before Timpanogos posted three runs in the third.
Corner Canyon continued to threaten until finally blowing open the barn door in the sixth. After a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth knotted the score, the combination of Caden Lawson's hot shot up the gut and consecutive doubles by Nicholson Garrett and Marshall Nice surged the Chargers ahead by five runs.
"We preached to the kids that somewhere in the game we've got to have a crooked number," Connelly said. "We were pressing a little bit, I think, early, and we told them to just stay with it. We're a better team than when we played these guys earlier in the year. These kids know it."
Now the Chargers have an opportunity to avenge a disappointing sweep against another region opponent in Orem.
"We want to keep playing. It's just a game. Yes, it's the state playoffs, but it's just baseball," Connelly said. "The last time we played [Orem], in three games, we committed 18 errors. We know if we don't make 18 errors in three games — we beat them somewhere along that way. We're going to come out on Thursday, and we're going to be ready to play."
Corner Canyon will play against Orem in the semifinals at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Orem 5, Maple Mountain 2 •
The Tigers (25-3) jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead after four innings, which was more than enough for pitcher Paxton Schultz. On his future field, the UVU commit picked up his 10th win of the season after pitching a complete game and registering 12 strikeouts. Schultz also started the scoring in the third inning, with a single, which allowed Parker Wollaston and Jake Stayner to drive in the first two runs of the game. Maple Mountain whittled the deficit down to three in the bottom of the fourth, but the Golden Eagles (19-8) coughed up three runs on a throwing error in the top of the fourth which proved to be the difference. Maple Mountain will play region rival Salem Hills at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the one-loss bracket at UVU.