We started a battle cry at the beginning of the year. It was: 'We’ve been to the top of the mountain but we’ve never walked over to the other side and drank the water.' This year we want to get a taste of that water on the other side of that mountain. —Curt Heslington, Beaver High School baseball coach
Beaver has tasted its fair share of state championships since its inception — 32 combined banners hang from the rafters, in fact.
However, the top ranked and unscathed Beavers have never captured a state title in baseball. As the 2A postseason buckles around the bend, Beaver enters with statistically the best defense in the state, two pitchers with a combined 15-0 record on the mound and an average run-differential of 11-1.
It might be the year to finally quench that insatiable thirst.
“We started a battle cry at the beginning of the year,” Beaver coach Curt Heslington said. “It was: 'We’ve been to the top of the mountain but we’ve never walked over to the other side and drank the water.' This year we want to get a taste of that water on the other side of that mountain.”
Beaver (16-0) is led by Sam Myers, who is 9-0 on the dirt this season, which is tied for the most wins in the state and is the most without a loss. He’s also added 13 doubles, two triples and two homers. The Beavers also have second-day pitcher Tilston Bradshaw, who is 6-0.
“Sam’s been doing this since basically his freshman and sophomore year and he’s just carried on since then,” Heslington said. “He’s a pretty good-sized kid that throws with good velocity. He’s got a good breaking ball, hits his locations very well, tends to not walk a lot of batters — makes them put the ball in play. “
The Beavers have hopscotched through their schedule with relative ease. In 16 games this season, they’ve surrendered only 22 runs — the lowest margin in the state by 26.
“I knew that our statistics were off the charts. Our philosophy has always been run-differential; pitching and defense is what wins ballgames,” Heslington said. “You can manufacture runs if you got an athletic team, but if you’re solid on the defensive side — most times you’re going to be in the ballgame.”
Manti (16-2) is the top candidate to up-end the Beavers' quest. After dropping the first two games of the season, including a 7-4 setback against Beaver in the Chuck Wagon Classic, the Templars have won 16 straight.
Heslington noted that wacky things tend to happen in the postseason.
“I don’t think it’s a two horse race at all — there’s some good teams out there,” he said. “(In) 2A baseball, you get the right kid on the mound at the right time and a couple balls bounce the wrong way, you just never know how it’s going to go.”
Grand, Parowan, Emery and Gunnison should all serve as tough outs.