High school baseball: Murray Spartans spring 17-hit attack on defending champ Skyline
Ravell Call, Deseret News
MURRAY — With the way the Spartans were swinging the bats, you might've thought it was a slow pitch softball game.
But it was Murray High's baseball team that was making all that noise Friday afternoon at Ken Price Field.
"We always talk about putting back-to-back hits together, but today we did it," Murray High head coach Marce Wilson said following his team's 12-2 win over Skyline. "It's tough to stop a team when they're putting hits together like that."
Tough to stop indeed.
The Spartans put a 7-spot up on the scoreboard in the second inning, when their first eight batters reached base by spraying base hits all over the ballpark. The big blow came when Zach Collins launched a three-run bomb over the left-center field fence.
"It felt pretty good," Collins said of his homer, which he knew was gone the moment it left his bat. "I've been hitting it pretty good and I'm doing my job, usually.
"Our game plan was to come out with a lot of energy and be sure we jump on them. And we did a really good job at that. We tried to keep on pushing and try and get a bigger lead."
It was more of the same for the Spartans in the third inning, when their first six batters reached base and winning pitcher Cam Howe lofted a two-run shot of his own to roughly the same spot Collins did beyond the park's borders.
The Spartans scored four runs in that frame, helping pave the way for an impressive victory over defending 4A state champion Skyline in a Region 7 rout that was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
"Our approach at the plate changed," said Howe, whose team had slipped past this same Skyline team by a score of 10-9 two days earlier. "Guys were getting pitches they wanted to hit instead of chasing.
"It wasn't just a few of us; the whole lineup was hitting today, and that's what helped, getting kids on base and letting the middle of the lineup pick up the RBIs."
At the plate, Howe reached base all four times on two walks, his homer and a single, and he scored three runs. On the mound, he scattered four Skyline hits, allowing just one earned run with six strikeouts and no walks.
"I didn't have as much command today as I normally do with my fastball, so I was getting behind in some counts," said the senior right-hander, who ran his sparkling record to 7-0. "But my defense was playing good for me today, and when you have a 10-run lead, you can just go out there and have fun and don't have to worry about too much — just go out there and throw and have fun."
With its ninth-straight win, Murray ran its region record to 10-2 and its overall record to 14-3, staying in line for a possible league title.
The Spartans slapped around Skyline's pitchers for 17 hits in all, including three each by Collins, Bo Shipley and Logan Jones. Shipley had an RBI double in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the second, and he scored a couple of runs. Jones had a run-scoring single and scored twice, too, while Nick Smart and Preston Hannay each had two hits.
In that second-inning outburst, Chase Topham smacked a two-run single; Jones and Shipley each stroked RBI singles, and Collins crushed his three-run homer.
In the third, after Howe hit his homer with Jones aboard, Hannay drilled an RBI double, and Sage Sutherland dropped in a run-scoring single for the Spartans' 12th run.
Coach Wilson was mighty pleased to see his team's performance in the batter's box.
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