Tuesday , May 15, 2018 - 8:29 PM
BOUNTIFUL — Viewmont was playing in pain against Highland on Tuesday afternoon.
Wearing black practice jerseys with PAIN — Practice, Attitude, Intensity, Never quit — posted between the shoulder blades, the Vikings faced a team they lost to earlier this year.
Seven stellar innings later, Viewmont vanquished the Rams when it mattered most and advanced to the second round of the state 5A baseball tournament with a 7-3 victory.
“Our kids think they look sharp in these jerseys and play better in them, so they wear them,” Viewmont coach Jeff Toller said. “We also had confidence coming in (against Highland) because we had hit their starting pitcher well in the other game and felt we could still hit the ball.”
The Vikings put back-to-back, three-run innings together in the third and fourth to break out of an early 1-1 tie.
Catcher Thompson — the third baseman batting in the No. 4 spot — was a big part of both three-run rallies. He doubled in a run in the third (part of four straight hits with one out) and lined a two-run, two-out RBI single in the fourth.
“I gotta give this to the team; they’re the ones that pick me up and making sure I’m keeping my head in the game,” Thompson said. “We all put the effort in. I have great teammates.”
Thompson finished with two hits, three RBIs and a run scored, while teammate Noah Montoya was on base three times, scored twice and had a run-scoring double. Tyson Toller banged out a double and a triple, plated a run and had an RBI.
Right-hander Hunter Tueller pitched the complete-game victory, striking out eight and scattering five hits. Highland scored two runs in the seventh inning, but both were unearned.
“My guys backed me up and hit the ball really well,” Tueller said. “Once we got ahead, it gave me a little more comfort to be in there and throwing strikes.”
The Rams (14-11) threatened in the top of the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but Tueller got a strikeout and first baseman Aaron Bredsguard snagged a hot liner and beat the runner back to the bag for an inning-ending double play.
“We don’t go into panic mode. We get in tough situations and trust each other that we’re going to work our way out of it,” Jeff Toller said.
No. 1 seed Viewmont (18-7) now hosts Jordan (20-6) in a second-round game at 4 p.m. Wednesday and hopes to put any remaining butterflies aside, including those plaguing the coach.
“It’s always good to get that first one. We were a little tense with the first day of the playoffs,” Toller said. “But I was the one who was a nervous wreck. They were calm by comparison.”
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