There's a fundamental lesson baseball players learn when they're still hitting balls off tees: when fielding a ground ball, keep the mitt down.
On two separate occasions Wednesday night, a couple View-mont infielders forgot that rule. And instead of upsetting Taylorsville in the Utah State American Legion Tournament, they're left to ponder the what-ifs following a 15-13 loss.The Warriors, on the other hand, deserve credit because when Viewmont spotted them those extra outs, they didn't squander the opportunities.
"We're big on taking advantage of what they give us," said Tay-lors-ville's Dan Polhamus. "However we can get more runs, we'll take them."
In the second inning, with Taylorsville already ahead 3-0, Brian Ball hit a chopper toward third. Instead of resulting in the third out, the error gave the Warriors a fourth out, and four more runs crossed home plate.
Viewmont rallied in its half of the second with five runs, highlighted by Wes Patterson's three-run blast to left. It was 7-5 after two, and everyone knew the evening was just beginning.
"It's a nine-inning game, and anyone can come back in a nine-inning game," said Taylorsville's Brandon Lyon, who went 4-for-5 with five RBIs.
Trailing 9-6 heading into the fourth, Viewmont quickly evened the score when Nate Gold launched a Mark-McGwire type shot to left, his second of the game. As quickly as the Vikings knotted things up, they were playing catch-up again.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, Jeremy Huntington hit a slow grounder right between the legs of Viewmont's shortstop. Instead coming to bat with the game tied, the Vikings watched Taylorsville real off five more runs before the fourth out was recorded.
"I think if we need to put up some runs, we have a team that can usually do that," said Warriors coach Justin Thomas.
Despite the heartbreaking turn of events, the Viking bats were anything but dormant. They scored two in the sixth and two more in the seventh to cut the gap to 15-13. Thomas sensed troubled, so he went to the bullpen and inserted Polhamus. With Polhamus on the mound, Viewmont probably wished they could've used a tee, because he had them chasing pitches all over the plate.
"I was just pretty much mixing things up and throwing off-speed stuff. They just kept getting out in front of the ball," Polhamus said.
Taylorsville will face Bingham 5 p.m. Thursday at Oquirrh Park in one of the semifinals. The other game pits West Jordan against Brighton at 8 p.m.
"I definitely think Bingham's the team to beat right now. They're playing the best ball out of anyone," said Thomas.