I told the guys 'Hey, you just need to (take it) one inning at a time and we can get back into this.' I can't believe the effort today. —Skyline coach Erik Hansen
View photo gallery: 4A state baseball championship game: Timpanogos vs. Skyline
View photo gallery: 4A state baseball: Timpanogos vs. Skyline, Game 1
KEARNS — It took much longer than hoped, but Skyline finally has its coveted baseball state championship.
After squandering an opportunity to win it much earlier on Friday when Timpanogos throttled the Eagles 12-1 in a five-inning game, Skyline showed tremendous resiliency to battle back and win the second 4A championship game 8-7 in 10 innings.
The marathon game last nearly three-and-a-half hours and featured seven different pitchers and 28 base hits — 21 of them for Timpanogos.
In the end, it was a fielding error on a groundball by Bryce Barr with the bases loaded that finally allowed Skyline to score the winning run and celebrate its first state championship in school history.
"It means so much. The seniors who haven't got it. It's a good feeling," said Berrett, who came up huge in pitching three innings of shutout baseball in relief.
For Timpanogos, the loss kept it from becoming the first team in Utah since Bear River in 2004 to lose the first game of the state tournament and then come back and win the title.
Timpanogos was one strike away from winning the game in the seventh inning, but Skyline catcher Josh Stephens spoiled that with the clutch hit of his life. His opposite-field single to right with two outs and two strikes brought home Matt Evans to level the score at 7-7 and send the game into extra innings.
"I knew I was going to get a hit. When I got two strikes on me I started getting the butterflies, but I knew I was going to get that hit for our team," said Stephens, who finished the game going 3 for 4.
Skyline had a great chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth after a lead-off walk, but it had two base runners controversially called out because of interference.
In the top of the ninth, Timpanogos was poised to blow the game wide open after loading the bases with no outs, but Skyline relief pitcher Berrett pitched himself out of the jam without allowing a run.
"I just thought I need to get that one pitch to get for them a pop up and ground out and do that the next three batters, I can't strike everybody out," said Berrett, who pitched seven innings against Murray the day before.
Coming off its blowout win in the first game, Timpanogos struck first as Johnny Peterson tripled off the center field wall with two outs to give the T-Wolves the 3-0 lead in the top of the third. They tacked on another run on a sacrifice fly by CJ Schroeppel in the fourth.
Skyline answered back in a wild bottom of the fourth. After Tanner Nielsen retired the first 10 Skyline hitters, the next six reached base on three hits, two walks and an error.
The rally started when Timpanogos' left fielder dropped a sure out that allowed two Skyline runs to score. Following another walk, Lars Lofgren drove in a run to make it 4-3 and then Clint Berhow tied the score at 4-4 on a sacrifice fly to right.
"The first couple innings we were way down, but after that big inning we got four runs we started getting back up," said Berrett.
Timpanogos regained the lead in the sixth as Sam Harris, Schroeppel and McKay Swope singled in succession. Swope's bloop single over the first baseman put Timpanogos ahead 5-4 and then Pay increased the lead to 6-4 with an RBI single two batters later.
In the seventh, the teams traded runs again. Schroeppel drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh on an infield single, but Josh Stephens answered back with the clutch hit of his life.
"I just can't believe the effort after falling down 4-0 after the way the game went earlier today. I told the guys 'hey, you just need to (take it) one inning at a time and we can get back into this. I can't believe the effort today," said Skyline coach Erik Hansen.
Skyline ace Lars Lofgren went seven innings and allowed 17 hits, but he battled out of numerous jams as Timpanogos left 15 runners on base.
TIMPANOGOS 12, SKYLINE 1 (5 INNINGS): The Timberwolves continued their improbable run to the 4A title by embarrassing the Eagles, who hadn't lost previously in the tournament, in a game mercifully shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Timpanogos starter Kincade Pay shut out Skyline until the final inning, scattering six hits along the way. Pay's run-scoring single gave the T-Wolves a 1-0 lead in first, and Timpanogos turned it into a rout by scoring nine runs over the next two innings.
In the second inning, the T-Wolves scored four runs with the benefit of just one base hit, as three walks, two Skyline errors, a hit batsman and a two-run single by Sam Harris helped fuel the Timpanogos rally. Then in the third, the T-Wolves strung together base hits by Ryan Morin and Tanner Nielsen, an RBI single by C.J. Schroeppel and a run-scoring fielder's choice by McKay Swope, and RBI singles by Tyler Hamilton and Johnny Peterson opened the floodgates for a five-run uprising.
But the T-Wolves weren't done yet. They added two more runs in the fourth frame on RBI singles by Jake Beveridge and Hamilton to make it 12-0, and these two teams were headed for a second do-or-die showdown Friday night.
4A All-Tournament Team
MVP: Bridger Berrett, Skyline
Lars Lofgren, Skyline
Mike Staes, Skyline
Bryce Barr, Skyline
Kincade Pay, Timpanogos
C.J. Schroeppel, Timpanogos
McKay Swope, Timpanogos4 comments on this story
Cam Howe, Murray
Trace Hansen, Mountain Crest
Arik Mack, Maple Mountain