WOODS CROSS — The Timpanogos Timberwolves battled through spurts of rain and a determined Woods Cross team Wednesday afternoon to squeak by the Wildcats for a 5-4 road victory in the second round of the 4A winners bracket.
“That’s a big win against a good team. To be on the road, it’s a state tournament, and to have kids come through in a close, clutch game, it’s just wonderful,” said T-Wolves head coach Kim Nelson.
With the game tied at 2-all in the top of the sixth, designated hitter Max Hill came through with a two-out double. Following Hill was center fielder Jacob Church, who promptly drove the ball to the outfield for an RBI double to put the T-Wolves up 3-2.
In the top of the seventh, the Hill and Church combination came through again with two more huge two-out at-bats.
With two on, Hill drove the ball deep for an RBI double to put the Timberwolves up 4-2. Church then followed up with an RBI single to put them up 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
“Just proud of them," said Nelson. "Max Hill had been in kind of a slump and these past two games he’s really produced. And Jacob Church, quite honestly, has probably played less than half the games, but has come on lately to swing the bat and what a great time for it."
Woods Cross was determined to come back — as it had been all day long. With two outs and one aboard, Shaden Fisher came through with a line drive RBI double to left field to bring the Wildcats within two runs, 5-3. The following batter was Kyle Peay, who drove in Fisher with an RBI single.
But as Timpanogos starting pitcher Tanner Nielsen had done all day, he came through in the clutch just when one might have doubted him.
Nielsen came through with his final pitch of the day, getting the Woods Cross batter to line out to right field to secure the victory.
Nielsen gave up four runs, two walks and had seven strikeouts in his complete-game victory.
“He has really gotten a little stronger as the game has gone on, and he did today. The fourth and fifth and sixth innings he was hitting his spots, and he was pitching well, and that gave us a chance to get on top,” said Nelson about Nielsen.
Nielsen seemed to battle through various obstacles that Woods Cross continued to throw at him throughout the game.
Early on in the second inning, Nielsen pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam. In the fourth, Woods Cross' Josh Cowley hit a deep solo home run to left field to tie up the game at 2-2. And in the final inning when Woods Cross scored two two-out runs, Nielsen again dug down deep to find a way to complete the road playoff victory for his club.
“I was just trying to do everything that I could for my team, and I was just out there fighting, wasn’t willing to give up and that’s what I was thinking about through the whole time,” said Nielsen.