KEARNS As the game between Mountain Crest and Mountain View stretched past the three-hour mark and into the 11th inning, it was obvious something had to give.
It is hard enough for a team to stay focused for seven innings, yet alone another four. And it is tough on both the defense and the pitchers involved to keep good hitting teams from coming through with the clutch base knock. But that is what was happening as the game was knotted at 1-1 through 10 innings.
It wasn't until the top of the 11th when the Mustangs finally put together the rally that either side was waiting for. An error and five singles allowed Mountain Crest to push across four runs and advance in the 4A state playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Bruins.
"I was proud of how our kids stayed focused the whole time," said Mustangs coach Stephen Hansen. "They kept their heads and played good baseball for an awfully long time. We just kept waiting for one of them to make a play, and it finally happened."
The starting pitchers from both teams were outstanding. Mountain View's Caleb Loveland went 8 1/3 innings. He threw 141 pitches, 79 of which were strikes. He scattered seven hits and gave up only one unearned run while striking out six.
Kyle Anderson got the start for the Mustangs. He threw nine innings in giving up only one run and struck out six. He scattered 10 hits in throwing 137 pitches, 87 of which were for strikes, but Hansen said he wanted to go even longer.
"I still wanted to go," Anderson said. "My arm just felt better as the game went on. I got more comfortable. My curveball was really good today. I was able to throw it in for some strikes and then I could throw my fastball away."
The big inning started innocently enough. Derek Pond reached on an error before Blake Hillyard got an infield single. Zach Lindley's sacrifice attempt turned into a single before Derek Leishman knocked in the go-ahead run with a single. Kyler Webb (who also came in relief of Anderson on the mound and threw two scoreless innings to get the win) had a two-run single. Chandler Smith capped the scoring with an RBI single of his own.
"The coaches just kept telling us to keep trying and saying, 'which one of you is going to be the hero?'" Anderson said. "This gives us confidence that we can win those close games and we can just keep going this week."
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