SANDY For the second consecutive day, Timpanogos got all the offense it would need in the second inning en route to a win in the 5A state baseball tournament.
The Timberwolves opened the top of the second inning with five consecutive hits, including a two RBI single by first baseman Jordan Mehlhoff, and Timpanogos beat Alta 7-3 on the Hawks' home field.
"Thirteen runs in the second inning in two games is going to win a few games," Timpanogos head coach Kim Nelson said.
On Tuesday, Timpanogos broke its game with Viewmont wide open with eight runs in the second frame after allowing the Vikings to score their only run of the game in the first inning. Wednesday, the Timberwolves struck again in the second and took the pressure off pitcher Gentry Croft, who was making his first appearance in nearly three weeks after suffering a back injury.
"It's huge to not have that pressure knowing that we're up 5-0," Croft said. "Knowing that, I can relax a little bit and focus on my arm and getting those strikes. It helped a lot."
Croft gave up just one run and scattered four hits over four and one-third innings to put Timpanogos in the winners bracket in the second round of the state tournament.
The senior struck out six and walked four batters.
"With all that (Croft) has been through for a couple of weeks, to go out and have a great outing, I think what happened there was just a confidence boost to everyone one else," Nelson said.
Timberwolves' catcher Mitch Frost led the second inning off with a single to center field. Tuesday's winning pitcher, Rhett Nelson, then followed up the lead-off hit with a single of his own before Mehloff cleared the bases with a sharply hit ball into centerfield. Timpanogos then loaded the bases for Jordan Cooper, who hit a one-out single up the middle. Timpanogos made the score 5-0 on a sacrifice fly that scored Kellen Mewhorter.
Alta's Colton Call walked to open up the bottom of the second and eventually scored on a Bobby Pappin single to open the scoring for the Hawks. In the next inning, Timpanogos extended its lead to 7-1 after a pair of singles by Nelson and Mehlhoff led to two runs off a Christian Stewart single and a Mewhorter sacrifice fly.
Despite being in a six-run hole, Alta kept things interesting when freshman shortstop Kevin Keyes scored on a single by Justin Campell. Alta proceeded to load the bases, but with two outs, Timpanogos reliever Tanner Wolf struck out Alta's Sam Tiahan to end the threat for the Timberwolves.
Alta would threaten once again in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a base running error at second base by pinch hitter Clint Vanhoff turned a two-on, one-out advantage into a costly second out that all but ended Atla's chances at a comeback.