PLAIN CITY — The annual coaching adage is wanting your team to play its best at the end of the year and get on a roll before the playoffs.
A couple of Fremont’s games over its current winning streak haven’t been the epitome of “playing their best,” but the fact is the Silverwolves are on a roll and surging at the right time.
They’re now winners of their last nine following a 9-2 win against Roy on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the 6A state playoffs.
In late April, Fremont’s region championship hopes disappeared with two losses to Layton and one to Syracuse all in the same week.
“We evaluated our mistakes and we were making a lot of errors, four or five errors. Not anyone in particular all the time, just kind of all around,” Fremont coach Garrett Clark said.
Freshman Logan Penland was moved to shortstop and junior Cannon Koford went to the outfield. The following Tuesday, Fremont beat Syracuse to start the win streak.
“We just got more focused. We said if we want to make a run and have any chance at state, we gotta go on a run here and get going,” junior Jaxon Larkin said.
The Silverwolves won their next four regular-season games, then took the Region 1 postseason tournament by winning three more games to bump the streak to eight.
Since Fremont missed out on the regular-season title, Clark noted the region tournament was a motivator for his team to win a trophy.
Things were square 2-2 on Saturday until a six-run fifth inning by the Silverwolves, punctuated by a three-run Larkin homer.
A solo homer to right field by Mason Memmott followed in the sixth. Memmott started the season as the team’s designated hitter while he recovered from Tommy John surgery and has only recently started playing third base.
Before the big fifth inning, Roy had played things well despite going down 1-0 early. Cooper Valencia was hit by a pitch, and Cragun McCloy tailed a triple into right field to tie the score in the second inning.
The Royals had two runners on base with no outs in the top of the fourth and managed one run, which tied the score 2-2.
“They could’ve broken it open, but (pitcher) Calvin (Morrow) stepped in and did a great job,” Clark said. “That was actually huge.”
Morrow pitched six innings and struck out eight, allowing the two runs on five hits.
“I’m glad that big inning didn’t happen because they had second and third. We got out of that, which was great,” Larkin said. “They just never seized their opportunity and we did, when we had runners on, we got hits, moved people around, got it done when it mattered most.”
Gavin Douglas hit 2 for 4 with two RBIs, Memmott hit 2 for 4, Morrow hit 3 for 4 and Landon Salvesen pitched a scoreless seventh.
The teams play again Monday to continue their best-of-three series, where the winner will go to No. 7 Skyridge for a “super regional” series.
The impetus will be on Fremont to close out the Roy series in two games to save its pitchers for Skyridge, while the Royals are just fighting to keep their season going.
Against a surging Silverwolves team, the latter will be very difficult.