KEARNS For a player who is money in the postseason, Cottonwood third baseman Kyle Beverley sure has a boring nickname.
It's simply "Bev." But after adding to his staggering home run total in the last two state tournaments, a more appropriate moniker would be "Big Game Beverley."
Beverley hit two home runs and had five RBIs to lead Cottonwood to a 13-8 win over Pine View in the 4A winners bracket semifinals at Kearns High on Tuesday night. The Colts advance to play Dixie at UVSC on Thursday, while the Panthers will try to fight out of the one-loss bracket against Orem today.
Beverley, who has signed with Oregon State, has picked up where he left off in last year's state tournament when he hit a ridiculous seven home runs in five games. He has three in this year's postseason, and it doesn't appear that his home-run pace is going to slow down anytime soon.
"It's the atmosphere," said Beverley, when asked what makes him so dominant at this time of the year. "I kind of thrive off the pressure. Just the big scenes, and a lot of fans I love that kind of thing. I love this time of the year."
Beverley started off against Pine View with a two-run double in the second. He then hit a lead-off home run in the fourth over the fence in left-center that may have yet to land. In the seventh, he went to the opposite field, hitting a two-run blast to right that put the Colts ahead 13-3.
Beverley said that one of the secrets to his success in the postseason is that he doesn't feel any pressure. If he doesn't get the job done, he has complete confidence that one of his teammates will.
"Your teammates will pick you up at this time of the year," Beverley said. "There's less pressure. You got to have good teammates like these guys."
You also don't beat a quality team like Pine View, the Region 9 champions, without a complete team effort. Kendall Mayer, making just his second start of the season, kept the Panthers on their heels. He threw a little more than 70 pitches, and his fast ball hit 90 mph on a few occasions.
Mayer, expected to be one of the state's most dominant pitchers this season, didn't get to pitch in a game until last week because of arm trouble. The junior looked to be recovered against Pine View, as he allowed just two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work.
"I'm very happy with him," said Cottonwood coach Jon Hoover. "The reason why he started is because he's the most seasoned (of our pitchers). He can get hitters out, and he's not going to buckle if it gets tough. He's going to be in there and he's been that way for three years."
Mayer, at times, struggled with his control. He gave Pine View some opportunities, as he walked five batters and hit one. But anytime he got in trouble, Mayer either got himself out of it, or he relied on the stellar defense of infielders Beverley and Dalton Gust.Pine View made a rally in the seventh that will likely give the team some momentum in the one-loss bracket today. Justin Ence crushed a three-run home run, and the Panthers put up five in the seventh to get within striking distance of the Colts. Nick Green, however, came on in relief and recorded the final two outs of the game to save the win for Cottonwood.
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