SALT LAKE CITY — Cyprus doesn't have a special name for its patented delayed double steal, but the time has come.
It is becoming a thing of legend in Utah high school baseball.
The Pirates pulled it off yet again in their 13-5 win over Murray at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Wednesday evening. A delayed double steal gave Cyprus its go-ahead run during an eight-run fifth inning and helped put the Pirates in the driver's seat for Region 2's last state tournament berth.
Cyprus coach Bob Fratto has his team practice the delayed double steal all the time, and executes it more in games than any other coach in the state. But he has no nickname for his program's signature play.
"I just call it being aggressive," Fratto said. "We practice that and practice that and practice that and just say, 'one of these times it's going to win us a game or change a game.' It was today."
Freshman Parker Loutensock, running from first, and Dylan Tabil, taking off from third, executed the double steal for Cyprus. It ignited the Pirates, who went on to score seven more runs in the fifth — all with two outs — and sent the Spartans reeling.
"It was definitely a turning point," Fratto said. "I just thought we were the more aggressive team. We needed to come out, set a tone and be aggressive."
Cyprus stole a whopping 12 bases against the Spartans with seven of them coming in the fifth inning. The Pirates were 12-for-13 in stolen-base attempts. They were helped by seven Murray errors with five of them coming in what was a disastrous fifth inning for the Spartans.
The Pirates set the tone for the game early, stealing second on the first pitch the first time they got someone on base. Levi Lewellyn made sure the stolen bases weren't wasted, as he had a two-run single in the first inning.2 comments on this story
The Spartans briefly took control of the game after scoring five runs in the third. Calob Aloi hit his state-leading 13th home run of the season to drive in three runs. Aloi's blast set a single-season school home run record and put him fourth all-time in the state.
The Spartans' lead, however, didn't hold up because they couldn't keep the Pirates off the bases or from stealing them. It was a costly loss for Murray, which now has to beat league-leader Skyline today and have Cottonwood defeat Cyprus to force a play-in game with the Pirates on Friday.
If all goes well for Cyprus, it will play Region 1's fifth-place team in a state tournament play-in game on Saturday. The winner of that game gets top-ranked Bingham in the first round on Tuesday.