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All-Area MVP: Bridger Clontz helps power Fremont baseball’s big season

By Patrick Carr - Standard-Examiner | Jun 18, 2022
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Bridger Clontz poses for a photo outside Fremont High School on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Clontz is the 2022 Standard-Examiner All-Area Baseball MVP.
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Fremont's Bridger Clontz slides to the plate in Game 2 of a 6A second-round playoff series against Clearfield on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Plain City. (BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner)
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BRIDGER CLONTZ, FREMONT, MVP. Pitcher/First Base • Senior ... Clontz had a 1.51 ERA in 55 2/3 innings pitched with 90 strikeouts against 23 walks and 36 hits allowed, according to MaxPreps. Clontz batted .438 with a .525 on-base percentage, 27 RBIs, nine doubles, three homers and two triples.
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Bridger Clontz poses for a photo outside Fremont High School on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Clontz is the 2022 Standard-Examiner All-Area Baseball MVP.

PLAIN CITY — In an April game against Clearfield, Fremont High senior baseball pitcher Bridger Clontz felt a little tired, didn’t have much energy and said he was exhausted by about the third inning.

The coaches called for some snacks and drinks. Clontz still wasn’t feeling great.

And yet, he threw a one-hit shutout.

No matter what, it seemed that when Clontz took the mound for the Silverwolves, good things happened.

“His greatness was he was almost the same every game. When we needed him to come in and throw well, he just did that game after game,” Fremont coach Garrett Clark said.

In 55 2/3 innings, the left-handed Clontz allowed 12 earned runs for a 1.51 ERA, giving up 36 hits and 23 walks while striking out 90 batters. Clontz is the 2022 Standard-Examiner All-Area Baseball MVP.

He went 9-0 on the mound and Fremont won all 10 games Clontz pitched, starting with a season-opening win over Pleasant Grove and ending with a one-loss state tournament win against Lone Peak.

Clontz did his damage mostly with a fastball that sat around 85-88 mph this year. Occasionally, he mixed in sliders and curveballs, but was good enough with the heater that he didn’t have to show “the whole cookie jar.”

He had about the same repertoire this year as last year. The difference this year was he threw strikes from the jump and put batters behind in the count.

Statistically, Clontz’s best pitching performance was probably his 14-strikeout effort in a five-inning shutout win at Roy. Or maybe it was a 15-strikeout game in a 4-2 win over Weber. Or, the game when he threw a one-hit shutout against Clearfield.

Clontz had another game in mind for what he would call his best on the mound.

“My start against Farmington. It wasn’t my best on paper, I didn’t have my most amount of strikeouts, or I didn’t allow zero runs, but I felt like they’re a really good team and it was a grind that whole day,” Clontz said. “I never had a chance to — like, I couldn’t lose focus or I knew they’d do something that would beat me.”

That was the Silverwolves’ region-opening game. Fremont won Clontz’s start 5-3, won the next day 8-7 and then won 18-7 a couple days later to complete the sweep over what would eventually be the second-place team in Region 1.

Clontz hit well this year, too, tallying a .438 average with 27 RBIs, nine doubles, two triples, three homers and a .525 on-base percentage.

Overall, the Colorado-Mesa signee said he wanted to improve this year and just be consistent.

“That’s the biggest thing about being a great pitcher in my idea, is no matter the day or circumstances, you’re consistent so you don’t have to worry about if he’s going to walk a bunch of kids, give up a bunch of hits, you know what you’re going to get,” Clontz said.

Attention to detail is preached in the Fremont baseball program. That fit with Clontz’s personality. He’s a clean, organized person by nature, which is ironic given he’s working a construction job this summer before heading off to college.

If, after games, players weren’t doing a good enough job taking care of the pitching mound, Clontz would grab the rakes and shovels and take care of it.

Clark and Clontz both credited the latter’s offseason work, and devotion to it, for his success in 2022.

Along with the physical side of things, Clontz said he worked a lot on his mental approach to the game and felt like he was mentally in control in 2022. That can be hard to do in a sport like baseball that has so much downtime between pitches.

“It’s really easy to be down on yourself in a sport where you fail more than you succeed, so I think I grew a lot believing in myself and having confidence if I was on the mound, and had to make a big pitch, and believing in my other teammates that they were going to succeed in the moment,” Clontz said.

Fremont had the luxury this season of three good starting pitchers with Clontz, Gavin Douglas and Landon Salvesen.

Still, Clark said Clontz was crucial to the success of Fremont, which won the Region 1 championship, went 27-3 overall and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs before getting tossed out by Farmington in the final eight of the 6A state tournament.

“He was just a composed person, so when we needed him he was there. That’s the biggest thing,” Clark said. “When you’ve got dudes like that in your program, you win 25 games in a row.”

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