Kragthorpe: Cottonwood’s 5A baseball title story is ‘like a movie’

First Published      Last Updated May 26 2017 09:00 pm


The last day of school started with students lining the sidewalk outside Cottonwood High School, where a police escort led the team bus off the campus. Then came the graduation ceremony, complete with caps and gowns over their baseball uniforms, as pitcher Hayden Rosenkrantz and his senior teammates walked from the mound to home plate and received their diplomas before the first pitch.

Friday only would get better. Rosenkrantz allowed two hits over five innings, and the Colts' offense came to life in an 11-0 victory over Lone Peak for the Class 5A state championship at Utah Valley University.

Summarizing the day's events, Rosenkrantz said, "It felt like I was in a movie."

The Colts provided enough material for Hollywood treatment. There's a story behind every trophy, and much more could be told about Cottonwood's championship. Someday, maybe.

"We had some things happen during the season that nobody knows about. Nobody will," coach Jason Crawford said. "They came together. We had a lot happen off the field. … We had some controversy. We had some injuries. Everything just kind of came together at the right time."

The screenwriters wouldn't have to do much more with Cottonwood's script. The characters start with Rosenkrantz, a move-in from Las Vegas who will pitch for Washington State. His high school career ended with 12 consecutive scoreless innings, including the last seven of Monday's 2-1, extra-innings defeat of American Fork.

And then there's Cuban arrival Daniel Gonzalez, who broke his hand — while running to a class, by Crawford's account — in early April. Gonzalez returned to the lineup only Friday, when he ended Lone Peak ace pitcher Seth Corry's day in the third inning with a triple off the left-field wall and just kept running, scoring on an error.

The title also came amid tragedy. The father of junior varsity player Dylan Reiser died Monday. A yellow jersey with "Reiser" written on the back was hanging in the third-base dugout Friday. The players planned to attend a viewing in the evening.

No wonder Crawford described the Colts' tournament showing as "pretty impressive" amid everything they experienced during a season when they went 12-6 in region play.

Thanks to the 10-run rule, the Colts squeezed the final episode of their season into barely 90 minutes — meaning they could have hustled back to the school in time for graduation in the early afternoon. But who could have imagined that possibility? With Corry working for Lone Peak, the if-necessary game in the double-elimination tournament seemed more likely to occur than having the Colts finish the job in the middle of the fifth inning.

Cottonwood had scored a total of 10 runs in four state tournament victories but topped that total in four innings Friday. "We just kept waiting for the team that we know can hit to come out," Crawford said.

And the Colts did it against Corry, a left-hander who's ticketed to pitch for BYU unless he enters pro baseball as a highly touted prospect in next month's draft.

Walks and errors contributed to Corry's troubles, but Cottonwood hit him hard at times. He was charged with six runs.

No. 9 batter Jeff Borquez drove in three runs as the hits came throughout Cottonwood's lineup. Rosenkrantz fulfilled his part of the anticipated pitching duel, allowing two singles and striking out four batters in five innings.

As a friend of Corry's from national competition, Rosenkrantz said, "I wish it was a closer game."

More drama may have made a better movie, but Crawford liked Friday's ending just fine. "We needed good things to happen for our community," he said. "It couldn't have happened at a better time for our school."


Twitter: @tribkurt