OREM — The Jordan Beetdiggers pulled off their biggest win of the season, rallying from a five-run deficit and a four-run hole to defeat Lone Peak, 12-11, in eight innings in the 5A state tournament on Wednesday night.
But they were in no mood to celebrate.
The Beetdiggers got some sobering news just minutes after their victory. The health of Benny Gonzales, 22, the older brother of second baseman Brady Gonzales, took a turn for the worse on Tuesday. Doctors found that he has a hole in his heart, and damage to his lungs and liver, in addition to his previously reported medical condition.
Benny Gonzales, as was reported in Sunday's Deseret News, was in a medically induced coma after complications from surgery for stomach ulcers. Brady Gonzales got the news of his brother's failing health shortly after Jordan's victory, and he was consoled by his teammates and coaches.
After hugging and whispering words of encouragement to the younger Gonzales, there wasn't a dry eye on the team, which is inspired to keep winning on Benny Gonzales' behalf.
"It's just going to give us more strength and play harder — play for him," said centerfielder Alex Fife. "We'll be alright."
The Beetdiggers certainly played with an extra purpose in beating 2010 champion Lone Peak in an elimination game. The Beetdiggers, trailing 11-7, scored four runs in the seventh to force an extra inning.
Freshman Mason Krueger hit an RBI double and Fife had an RBI single to cut Jordan's seventh inning deficit in half. Clay Kinahan drew a walk with the bases loaded, and then the Beetdiggers tied it by scoring on a wild pitch.
In the eighth, Krueger hit a one-out single, and then stole second. With two outs, Fife scored Krueger with a single.
Tilton Turner, who has pitched extremely limited innings this season, entered in the sixth and kept the high-powered Knights scoreless. He recorded four strikeouts — the last of which came on a strike call that was strongly disputed by Lone Peak.
"Senior pitcher, he stayed ready the whole way," said Jordan coach Ron Anderson. "To come in and hang three zeroes against a team like that is pretty good, I couldn't be more proud of him."
The Beetdiggers trailed 7-2 after four innings. They tied it at 7-7 with four runs in the sixth before scoring another four in the seventh.
Kinahan had three RBIs for Jordan, while Fife, Krueger and Carson Tilby each drove in two runs.
Anderson said his Beetdiggers will continue playing for and emulating Benny Gonzales when it faces the loser of the Bingham-American Fork game today.
"He's a fighter," Anderson said.