Utah's baseball factory has been working overtime the entire summer, but none of its workers seem to be complaining. The hours may be long and hard, but the paychecks have been well worth the effort.
Taylorsville has long been what Utahns think of when they hear the word baseball, and for good reason. The Warriors already own a sweep of both the high school state tournament trophy and the American Legion title, and on Friday a younger generation of Taylorsville diamond killers romped their way to the 16-and-under United States Amateur Baseball Academy World Series title, beating Marysville, Wash., 17-4.Every time they punch their time cards, the riches just flow. If the Warriors' trophy case were a bank account, the players could retire now and live off the interest.
"Kids in Taylorsville are just committed to baseball," head coach Jackson Ewing said. "We have a good Babe Ruth league, and that helps prepare these guys for tournaments like this. But the kids are dedicated to winning; that's what it comes down to."
Well, that and hitting the stitching off the baseball.
Taylorsville cranked out 21 hits against six different Marysville pitchers, who all had similar success against the offensive machine that is Taylorsville.
"Even the balls we got out on were hit hard," noted Ewing. "We swung the bat real well."
The over-the-top run production almost overshadowed what Warrior pitcher Mike Lewis did. While Marysville played musical chairs with its pitching staff, Lewis was all Taylorsville needed. Lewis pitched all six innings (the game ended early because of an eight-run mercy rule) surrendering only four hits and only one earned run. The other three Marysville runs were helped by five Taylorsville errors.
Lewis had been hampered all tournament long by a sore arm, but after spending time with a therapist Thursday and Friday morning he was able to make the start and proceeded to blow everyone away.
"The therapist helped a lot. My arm felt great out there," said Lewis, who had eight strikeouts. "I was able to keep them off balance quite a bit."
Taylorsville took command in the second inning off the strength of Schafer Magana's bases-loaded double. That put the Warriors up 4-0, and they never let their guard down.
In the sixth the Warriors put an exclamation on their unbeaten run through the tournament by scoring six more - with reserves.
"This team has a lot of talent, and we showed that," said Ewing. "It's a nice problem to have."