MAGNA With superb pitching by one of its leaders and timely hitting by a lineup where anybody can have a breakout game, the deep, experienced Cyprus Pirates made a first-round statement, beating Springville 9-5 Tuesday.
Junior pitcher Taylor Jones was efficient from start to finish, throwing a 101-pitch complete game that included a four-pitch fifth inning, and the Pirates manufactured nine runs from 11 hits in the opening playoff game for both teams. Springville got things started early in the top of the first inning, scoring off two RBI singles.
"I left the ball up too many times at first," Jones said. "Good hitters will make you pay for things like that. The next inning, I tried to do what I've been doing all season and get ahead in the count, and my teammates helped me out, putting runs on the board and playing great defense."
Cyprus got on the board in the first when shortstop Jordan Ikari scored on a Springville error. Right fielder Austin Shakespear opened the second inning with a walk, then designated hitter Dexter Fisher hit a double to center to put both runners into scoring position. Left fielder Broc Moltz walked to load the bases. Center fielder Ben Pollock hit an RBI single to tie the game, then stole second and advanced to third on another Springville error, scoring Fisher to give Cyprus its first lead of the game. Shortstop Jordan Ikari hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Pollock and push the score to 4-2.
Cyprus never let up in the third inning. After consecutive doubles by third baseman Cody Butler and second baseman Justin Eggers, Shakespear came to the plate and hit a two-RBI single to right-center, breaking the game wide open. Shakespear stole second, and Fisher drove him in, giving the Pirates a comfortable 7-2 advantage.
The fourth inning was the best chance Springville had to get back in the game, but shot itself in the foot with base-running mistakes. Catcher Brandon Miller hit a single, advanced to second on an error and eventually got to third. First baseman Trevor Jeffers hit a line drive to Ikari, who made a diving catch in the air, but then dropped it as he hit the ground. Jeffers didn't see the ball drop, gave up on the play and Ikari threw him out. Red Devils center fielder Eric Bulow drew a walk; shortstop Jeff Boyd hit an RBI single, DeWyze then singled, loading up the bases for a possible tie game. A quick groundout to short left three on base and shut the door on Springville.
Cyprus threatened to end the game early in the fifth inning with four straight singles and the bases loaded in a 9-3 game, but the Pirates took their turn at leaving their runners stranded, giving Springville yet another chance at redemption.
Second baseman Colton Ramon singled in the top of the sixth, and Jeffers made up for his mistake by hitting an RBI triple-turned inside-the-park home run off an error at third base, cutting into the lead to 9-5.
Coach Bob Fratto said he never once thought of taking Jones out of the game, even with Springville threatening in the sixth."No. N-O." Fratto said. " They may have to pitch twice in a week during the playoffs, and you have to build a kid for that. This is what we prepare them for, and I think our kids can compete with anyone."