High school baseball: Juan Diego slides past Cedar 3-2 in extra innings
DRAPER — It’s a moment Juan Diego senior Chandler Lamberton won’t soon forget.
With a runner on second base and two outs in the bottom of ninth inning, Lamberton laced a single to left-center field to give his team a 3-2 win over Cedar Saturday in the second round of the 3A state playoffs.
“That’s probably going to be a moment I remember the rest of my life,” Lamberton said. “When I look back on my experience here — that could very well be the moment I remember most.”
As Lamberton reached first his coach implored him to take second, but Lamberton chose to watch Justin Kummer round third and slide into home plate just ahead of the tag.
“I just threw my helmet up and rushed in to celebrate with the rest of the team. It’s just an amazing feeling that’s hard to describe,” he said.
Lamberton’s heroics didn’t just come from the plate. Coaches called upon him to pitch the team out of a jam in the top of sixth with the Soaring Eagle down 2-0 and as usual, he responded.
“He’s made plays for us all year long,” said Juan Diego coach Troy Davis. “He’s our go-to guy in relief and is someone we just know we can count on. I’m very proud of him.”
Lamberton went on to pitch four scoreless innings and was the game's winning pitcher.
Cedar appeared to have things well in hand until the bottom of the sixth. Ace pitcher Kayden Lunt was on top of his game with 10 strikeouts and just two hits allowed until Kummer finally connected with an RBI double to tie the game 2-2 and give the Soaring Eagle new life.
Lunt finished the game with 13 strikeouts through eight and two-thirds innings pitched — earning a lot of respect from Juan Diego coaches and players.
“That’s the best pitcher in the state or at least the best we’ve seen,” Lamberton said. “So to get to him when it counted — it just makes it that much better.”
While Lunt was mowing through Juan Diego’s lineup, most innings things didn’t go quite as smooth for Cedar on the other side of the ledger.
“They got their leadoff hitter on base in just about every inning, but our pitching and defense got us out of jam after jam,” Davis said. “I think that’s as good a game defensively as we’ve played. It really was a team effort with how good we were defensively.”
With the win, Juan Diego stays in the no-loss bracket in the double-elimination tournament and will next take on Grantsville. Cedar drops to the one-loss bracket with the loss.
Play for the 3A tournament continues Thursday at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem.