OREM — In 2012, Timpanogos' baseball team struggled in the regular season before peaking at the right time and advancing all the way to the 4A state title game as a fifth seed.
After a similarly rough start in region play this year, the Timberwolves hope Tuesday's key 9-3 home win over Orem is a sign of better things to come.
"I think if things go they way they are, we're pretty close," Timpanogos' Ryan Morin said. "If things keep going the way they did today and Springville last Tuesday, I think we can (peak late) again. I'm excited to see where it goes."
At the very least, Morin is close himself after driving in five of the Timberwolves' nine runs on Tuesday, including a two-RBI base hit to get Timpanogos off to a good start at the plate. The senior third baseman also has three triples on the year, including two in the month of April.
Such production is key for a Timberwolves team that is undefeated this season when it scores eight runs or more, a similar mark that defined its 2012 postseason run.
"The first two (runs) were the most important for us," Timpanogos head coach Kim Nelson said. "Get on the board, and I think that kind of helps get some others an idea that 'We can hit on this guy.' It gives us a little more confidence."
On defense, however, Timpanogos struggled in the early going.
The Tigers capitalized on two walks from starting pitcher Mitchell Cloward and a errant throw to first from Morin, tying the game on Nolan Gray's high RBI fly that dropped just inside left field.
Orem ended up returning the favor and then some, amassing six errors on the day, many of which came on attempted throw outs to first base that missed high. Max Hill reached in the third on one such throw, and Trent Oviatt was waived to first after being struck by a Parker Overly pitch.
Overly's 3-2 pitch on the next at-bat was ruled a ball, handing Timpanogos a 3-2 lead.
Overly redeemed himself in the fourth inning, blasting a double to the right-field fence to drive in Ethen Chatterly and again tie the game.
Orem's hopes of completing a comeback, however, were dashed by a rash of errors in the next two innings.
Tanner Evans reached in the fourth inning after another errant throw from third to first, then scored on a Cloward blooper to right. Oviatt did the same in the fifth inning, and Morin followed with a single grounder. McKay Swope's bunt was fielded, but again the throw to first was off the mark, allowing both Oviatt and Morin to score, giving Timpanogos a 6-3 lead.
"We've just got to play catch," Orem head coach Jeff Gustin said. "You get in a tight ballgame like that, and it was right there for both of us, a simple bunt puts two runs on the board. We've just got to gather ourselves and play."
Morin helped add two more runs in the sixth, forcing Orem to tag him out at first on an infield hit while two teammates reached home. Tanner Nielsen's RBI single capped off the scoring.
Morin admitted after the game the team had to shake off last year's heartbreak ending — and subsequent expectations — before rediscovering a collective rythmn.
"Mentally, just getting ourselves in there and getting comfortable with our swings and whatnot," Morin said. "Just taking that pressure off ourselves from last year. Just come out and play like we know how to play."
Matt Petersen is the Sports Web Editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.
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