High school baseball: McKay Swope's RBI keeps T-Wolves in the hunt
KEARNS — As improbable as it seems, Timpanogos is still playing baseball.
After dropping the first game of the 4A state tournament last Tuesday, the T-Wolves have come back and won five straight in the one-loss bracket, including two more victories on Wednesday at Kearns High School.
Timpanogos began the day with an easy 12-0 win over Sky View, and in the nightcap picked up a dramatic 9-8 victory over Mountain Crest as McKay Swope delivered the game-winning RBI with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
"Feels good, I was just trying to put the ball in play and make something happen," said Swope. "I just wanted to make up for my mistake."
With Timpanogos comfortably ahead 8-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth, Swope's error with two out proved costly as the Mustangs tacked on three runs to cut the lead to 8-5. They added another run in the fifth and then two more in the sixth to tie the game at 8-8.
"They're a good team," said Timpanogos coach Kim Nelson. "To be down 8-2 and hang in there and battle, which they did. We had some mistakes that helped the situation."
The damage could've been much worse in the sixth inning, but little-used pitcher Tanner Nielsen came in and got the T-Wolves out of a jam with one out. Coach Nelson guessed that it was just Nielsen's second inning of pitching at the varsity level all year.
Nielsen came up with a key hit in the seventh inning as well singling with one out, and then scored the winning run on Swope's single.
"This whole week we've had kids step up who haven't played much in varsity games and make big contributions, on the mound and the plate, and that's a lot of fun to see," said Nelson.
In the bottom of the seventh, Nielsen set the Mustangs down in order to continue Timpanogos' improbable march through the tournament.
A fifth seed out of Region 8, the T-Wolves only qualified for the state tournament after a play-in game victory over Cyprus. Since dropping a first-round game at Maple Mountain, they've beaten Westlake, Springville, Salem Hills, Sky View and Mountain Crest.
Next up is a game on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the loser of Skyline/Murray, which play at 4:30 p.m. With as well as the T-Wolves are playing, anything can happen.
"I'll be very honest and tell you, at the beginning of the year I just felt if things kind of fall in order and the right guys have the right frame of mind to play, I felt we could play long into the tournament," said Nelson.
Timpanogos pounded Mountain Crest's pitching all game with 16 hits, but three costly errors allowed the Mustangs to hang around.
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