LAYTON — During a 17-game winning streak in Region 1, Layton was rarely ever challenged, scoring double-digit runs a dozen times to run away with the league crown.
“We usually played ahead. We typically jumped on teams in the first and second innings,” said Layton coach Bob Ferneau.
On Tuesday though, the Lancers found themselves in unfamiliar territory, trailing Riverton by a run heading into the sixth inning of their 5A first-round game.
Ferneau never doubted how his team would handle the rare adversity, however.
Layton scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, aided by an RBI triple from Quentin Marcelin, to rally for the 4-2 victory over visiting Riverton.
“That’s the thing about us, we never push the panic button. We always keep our heads up 'cause in baseball you never know what’s going to happen,” said Marcelin.
With the victory, Layton moves on in the 5A state tournament winners bracket and will face Bingham on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Riverton drops down into the one-loss bracket and will travel to Cottonwood.
With his team trailing 2-1, Josafat Chavez led off the bottom of the sixth with an infield single and then scored on a triple into the gap from Marcelin — who later scored on a balk to give Layton the 3-2 lead. Preston Day singled in an important insurance run later in the inning to provide Caleb Harrop an extra cushion in the seventh.
“I was just waiting for a clutch-up moment, seemed like the perfect time. I was waiting for one pitch, and it just so happened to be the first one,” said Marcelin, who went 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
Riverton put a runner on in the seventh with a one-out double, but Harrop got the next two hitters to fly out for the workmanlike victory. Riverton recorded a hit every inning, including four doubles, but Harrop only walked two and struck out three for the complete-game victory.
“He’s been our No. 1 for three straight years. We rode him last year before our run in the state tournament as well. He didn’t have his good fastball today, but he was able to mix and match with his change-up, just enough to help us win today,” said Ferneau.
Skyler Davis gave Riverton a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double, but Layton responded right back as Marcelin singled home Harrop, who reached base on a two-out single.
The Lancers responded to the deficit with a calmness like they’d been there all season.
“These kids won 17 games in a row, and that’s pressure in and of itself. They handle pressure pretty well,” said Ferneau.