In the opener in the Vivint Orem Tiger Baseball Classic Tuesday afternoon, early mistakes costs Wasatch High School as they fell to Orem High School, 10-2, in Heber City.
Several untimely early mistakes put the Wasps in a hole. Orem, on the other hand, took care of business, playing solid baseball in the field, on the base paths, and on the mound. Orem's Parker Overly had a terrific outing as the Tigers' only pitcher.
On a beautiful afternoon in Heber City, the game started quietly with neither team getting on the board in the first. The Tigers put runners into scoring position in the second inning after a hit and an error at first base failed to get Wasatch starting pitcher Mason Holmes out of the inning. Orem pushed two men cross the plate to take an early 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third, after a hit batsman, Wasatch catcher Tagg Baxter threw out the runner attempting to steal second. Then, with two outs and another runner at first, Baxter had seemingly thrown out his second consecutive base stealer at second, but the Tiger was ruled safe. That brought Wasatch skipper Mike Shoell out of the dugout to argue the call.
“It didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to change the umpire's mind,” Shoell said. “But all signs pointed to the third out. The throw beat him. We put the glove in front of the bag and the runner didn’t attempt to slide,” he added. “That’s no excuse — but we should have been out of the inning.”
The next hitter poured salt in the wound with a double, bringing in the third run. Then after a walk issued by Holmes, another Tiger doubled, scoring two more. Before two and a half innings had passed, Wasatch was down 5-0.
Orem would add another run in the fourth before surrendering a pair to Wasatch in the bottom of the fifth. Back to back infield hits put Wasatch runners in scoring position before Austen Cloward and Tate Berg would come home for the Wasps making the score 6-2.
The brief feeling of a rally was quickly put to rest. The Tigers came out swinging in the top of the sixth. Five Orem hits, including a double that chased Holmes from the game, gave the visiting team a commanding 10-2 lead. Junior Jaxson Hermansen came in with two runners on and two out to force the pop fly to second base for the third out.
Wasatch went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth posing no threat against Overly, who went the distance for Orem. Hermansen finished the game for the Wasps getting a three up three down, two strike out inning in the top of the seventh.
Cloward, the Wasp shortstop who scored one of his team's two runs, touched Overly for a long double to the fence in the bottom half of the frame, but that was all that Wasatch had for the Tigers on the day.
It wasn’t the way Wasatch wanted to start the tournament, but they now look ahead to Wednesday’s game against Payson.
“We would have liked to have played better,” said Shoell. “We just didn’t get the hits today and after the early mistakes — well, we just didn’t recover from those unfortunately.”
Vivint Orem Tiger Baseball Classic Roundup:
This inaugural tournament features six teams from Utah County — Orem, Mt. View, Payson, Timpanogos, Timpview, Westlake — and Davis from Kaysville, Utah. Additionally, the tournament field includes Wasatch from Heber City, Utah.
Each team plays three pool play games (March 19-22) on the school's home fields. The championship and consolations games are scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at Brent Brown Ballpark on the campus of Utah Valley University.
In the other pool A contest, Payson downed Timpanogos at home, 3-2, in a pitching duel that went eight innings. Haden Knotts recorded the victory, the Lions' fourth of the year.
In pool B, Westlake defeated Mt. View on the road 7-1 for its second win of the season. Jake Mayer got the victory for the Thunder. Also, Davis scored 10 runs in the fifth inning on its way to a 22-2 victory at Timpview. Kody Day got the victory for Davis, who is now 4-0 on the year.
Pool play for the Vivint Orem Tiger Baseball Classic will continue on Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday reserved as a rainout day. The championship and consolation games are scheduled for Saturday at UVU.
Following the championship and consolations games on Saturday, Vivint will award $2,500 dollars in college scholarships to the tournament MVPs. A Vivint All-Tournament team will also be announced.
Tickets for Saturday's games are available at the Brent Brown Ballpark ticket office on the day of the game. Full game scores will be made available on the Deseret News high school scoreboard.
Kenny Bristow is the staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and is a contributor to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The tournament roundup was compiled from reports.