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6A playoffs: Harrop nearly perfect, Layton baseball blanks Kearns to open 1st round

By Bob Judson - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 13, 2023

LAYTON -- Layton High starter Crew Harrop gave up a single on his first pitch of Saturday's playoff opener against Kearns.

He was untouchable the rest of the afternoon.

"That's the game, you know. Balls find barrels. At the end of the day, you can't control that," Harrop mused. "We just control throwing strikes. We had a good game plan and stuck to it."

That game plan worked to near perfection as the No. 12 Lancers opened the first round of the 6A state baseball tournament by run-ruling No. 21 Kearns 12-0 in five innings to take Game 1 of a best-of-three series.

Harrop retired 13 straight batters following the opening single and was pulled with one out in the top of the fifth inning.

"We wanted to keep my pitch count down to where I would be available for Monday if needed," Harrop said.

He finished with seven strikeouts and no walks in a brief 4 1/3 innings pitched.

"Let the infielders play, let the outfielders play a little bit," Harrop said. "We've had a successful year overall. Why go away from it? I wasn't trying to change anything. Just pound the zone."

After wiggling out of the "jam" from the mound in the top of the first inning, Harrop helped himself in the box with an opposite-field, two-out RBI double in the bottom half that smacked the fence just below the yellow tape, giving Layton a 1-0 lead.

Harrop had another run-scoring double that dribbled to the fence in a Layton seven-run, fourth-inning outburst.

"Guess I've got to hit the weight room," Harrop said. "Just see the ball well and stick to my approach at the plate. See a fastball, hit a fastball; adjust to the curveball."

First baseman Preston Brimhall had a key bases-loaded, two-run RBI single in a four-run second inning that effectively broke the bout open, putting Layton up 5-0 after two. All four runs scored with two outs.

"I was looking for a curveball; they threw me a fastball inside and I had to turn on it and put it in between short and third," Brimhall said. "I adjusted my approach and it ended up working out."

Brimhall added a second single in the fourth inning during a game in which Layton (15-10) batted around twice in its four turns at the dish.

"I knew nothing about (Kearns) in general, I just knew that my team had a lot of confidence coming in here," Brimhall said. "We needed to keep our energy up. Energy is a big part of this. They took the energy on the first pitch of the game, but after that we switched roles by jumping on them and scoring all the runs."

Leadoff hitter Bryson Esplin also had two hits and scored two runs for the Lancers.

Layton hosts Game 2 at 1 p.m. Monday. A third game, if necessary, would follow right after.

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