4A high school baseball playoffs: Skyline comes back to claim its first baseball state championship
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
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.
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