DRAPER — Uh-oh.

That may be the foremost thought among the teams still alive in the 3A baseball tournament when they see what Juan Diego accomplished on Saturday. The Soaring Eagle breezed through their first two state tournament games, beating undermanned Ben Lomond 17-2 in the first round, then routing Wasatch 12-2 in five innings in the second round.

Juan Diego advances to play Cedar in the winners' bracket semifinals at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Kearns High.

This obviously isn't the same Juan Diego team that lost three of five games during a stretch in late April. The Soaring Eagle lost some confidence after losing to top-ranked Judge by eight runs, and remained in a funk while dropping games to Carbon and Pleasant Grove.

But now, and just as you'd expect from a team coached by Steve Cramblitt, Juan Diego is playing its best ball when the games matter the most.

"We're coming on at the right moment for sure," said Soaring Eagle senior Bryan James. "We're getting a lot of hits, our defense is solid, and we're playing good right now, just rolling. There's a lot of good chemistry going right now."

Juan Diego was locked in a scoreless tie with Wasatch in the fourth inning of their second-round game. That's when the Soaring Eagles showed their improvement in the area that's helped the team get on a hot streak, according to Cramblitt. Juan Diego's batters just battled at the plate, refusing to go down easily, before coming through with clutch hits.

Mike Lipsey got Juan Diego on the scoreboard in the fourth with an RBI single, and James blew the game open with a three-run home run. Ben Velasquez also provided a key hit, clearing the bases with a three-run double.

"We had a rough go there for a couple of weeks, and then we straightened it out," Cramblitt said. "The kids have just stepped up since then. They've really learned to battle at the plate. We had some big at-bats where guys just got down in the count and battled back, got some big hits. That's exciting to see."

Lipsey exemplified Juan Diego's resurgence at the plate. He got down 0-2 in the count, and hacked a few balls into foul territory before driving in a run.

"He's such a competitor," Cramblitt said.

Caleb Olson tossed a three-hitter against Wasatch while striking out eight. It was a typical performance for Olson this season, as he entered Saturday's game with a 0.96 earned run average.

Pat Fratto, Jared Forbush, Joe Glavin and A.J. Begay each had two hits against Wasatch.

The Soaring Eagle opened their day against a Ben Lomond team that suspended six players prior to the state tournament. It was a mismatch from the start, as Juan Diego scored 10 runs in the first inning. Begay and Forbush each hit home runs for the Soaring Eagles. Devin Thomas, who entered the game with a 1.34 earned run average, picked up the win for Juan Diego.


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