OREM — Top-ranked Pleasant Grove has a lineup with a reputation for smashing the ball all over the field.
To beat Syracuse on Thursday, the Vikings had to dirty the game up a bit.
Pleasant Grove scored four runs in the top of the sixth on two passed balls, a bunt single and a double steal to surge into the lead, finishing with a 9-5 victory in the championship bracket of the 6A baseball tournament at UCCU Ballpark.
Pleasant Grove (21-8) moves on to Friday’s championship game. The Vikings will play the winner of the Lone Peak-Syracuse elimination bracket game, which was postponed in the top of the first inning due to rain with Lone Peak leading 1-0. That is scheduled to resume at 12:30 p.m. Friday. The 6A championship game will follow immediately after that game.
Pleasant Grove had just one extra base hit — a double from Brock Watkins — but stole seven bases and bunted effectively to overcome a strong performance by Syracuse.
“We rallied together and that’s what we do best,” said senior outfielder Noah Taylor, who stole three bases, went 3 for 4, drove in three runs and scored twice. “We feed off each other’s energy. When we get bunts down, teams can’t stop us. No one can stop us when we start running.”
Syracuse starter Jaxson Christiansen kept the Vikings off balance and the Titans led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth. A 30-minute rain delay made for a long inning for both teams, but especially for Syracuse. Pleasant Grove pushed across four runs on just one hit, executing a sacrifice bunt, a drag bunt and a double steal to grab the lead and momentum.
“We been talking all year with our team that sometimes we’ve got to win with small ball,” Pleasant Grove coach Darin Henry said. “That’s what is so great about this team is we can do it in so many different ways. I told these guys we were going to have our adversity in this tournament but we embrace it, we enjoy it. Our guys keep grinding and grinding. I feel like our talent will finally pop its head out and we’ll find our way.”
Dillon Trane pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief to earn the win for Pleasant Grove, allowing three hits and one run.
Dylan Hawkes had an RBI triple and Logan Poe an RBI double for Syracuse (16-12), which won its first state tournament game since 2013 during this year’s state tournament run. Jackson Hall added two hits in the loss.
LONE PEAK 7, FREMONT 3
OREM — Lone Peak scored four runs in the top of the seventh to stun Fremont and end the Silverwolves’ season in the 6A tournament at UVU.
Jaxon Larkin drove in two runs and Taylor Ellis drove in the third during a second inning that put Fremont up 3-0. Larkin, Sage Wayment, Jack Arevalo and Wyatt Howell each had one hit for the Silverwolves (20-10).
Lone Peak tied it 3-3 in the fifth before the decisive seventh inning. Chase Comer threw a complete game for the win, allowing four hits and walking none.
For the third straight day, the 6A and 5A state softball quarterfinals were postponed due to weather and field conditions at Taylorsville’s Valley Regional Park. Below is the latest scheduling information, subject to conditions, according to official UHSAA brackets.
The following games are currently scheduled for Friday, May 24:
Fremont vs. Clearfield at 11 a.m. and Davis vs. Pleasant Grove at 12:30 p.m. in the one-loss bracket; Layton vs. Copper Hills at 2:45 p.m. in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals.
With a win, Layton would advance to the semifinals Saturday. Fremont/Clearfield and Davis would continue one-loss play Friday afternoon/evening with wins.
The 6A semifinal and championship rounds are currently scheduled for Saturday, May 25, beginning at 10 a.m.
As in 6A, the 5A quarterfinals and corresponding one-loss games are currently scheduled for Friday as follows:
Box Elder vs. Skyridge at 11 a.m. in a one-loss game; Farmington vs. Bountiful at 2:45 p.m. and Roy vs. West at 5 p.m. in winner’s bracket quarterfinals. One-loss bracket games continue through Friday.
The 5A semifinal and championship rounds are currently scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m.