OREM Despite going down five runs early, and trailing by two runs in the eighth inning, Cottonwood never considered itself in trouble.
The two-time defending 4A baseball champions rallied time and again. The Colts overcame a slow start, some uncharacteristic mistakes and control issues on the mound to post a come-from-behind 12-11 win over Springville in eight innings to advance to the state title game.
"We just never stopped believing in each other," said right fielder Austin Robbs, who had the game-winning hit to cap a 2-for-5 day at the plate with four RBIs. "No matter what happened out there, we stayed with each other. We knew we could win it if we just kept competing and doing our jobs."
Springville jumped out to an early lead, as the Red Devils scored four runs in both the first and second innings.
The first inning saw them draw three walks and have a hit batsmen, and Brandon Miller and Colton Ramon each stroked two-run singles.
In the second inning, Ben Doxey and Isaac Allred had an RBI single apiece as Cottonwood committed two errors.
Although Springville knocked around Colts starting pitcher Desmond Poulson pretty hard, the lead was not that big because the Cottonwood hitters were getting the job done at the plate as well, helping the Colts score three runs in both the first and second innings.
Robbs had a two-run single in the first, Ryan Thomas had a two-run single in the second, and Austin Wadsworth added an RBI on a groundout.
"Those guys love to go to battle," said Colts coach Jon Hoover. "They didn't care what the score was. They just concentrated on having good at-bats, and it kept us close, gave us a chance."
The other reason Cottonwood had a chance was relief pitcher Nick Green, who entered in the second inning and calmed things down. He gave up only one more run over the next four innings and struck out five.
"Nick did a terrific job for us," said Hoover. "It was a tough spot we asked him to come in and perform under, but he rose to the occasion."
Cottonwood finally pulled even in the sixth after scoring two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth. After a scoreless seventh by both sides, the Colts dug themselves another hole in the top of the eighth.
A lead-off error set the stage as pitcher Kendall Mayer struggled to find the strike zone. Ramon had a sacrifice fly, and Jeff Boyd picked up an RBI on Mayer's third consecutive walk. In all, Springville scored two runs on no hits.
The bottom of the inning had two walks and a groundout, setting the table with two men in scoring position for Wadsworth. He delivered with a drive to left center that dropped in for a two-run double to push across the tying run.
"I thought it was probably a fly out," said Wadsworth, "but the ball just kept carrying and carrying, and when I saw Kyle (Beverley) wasn't tagging up, I thought that maybe I did it. I think that is as far as I have hit a ball."
Robbs followed up with a single up the middle, scoring Wadsworth and ending the game.Cottonwood gets a chance for a rematch against Dixie today at 11 a.m. at UVSC to determine the 4A champion. Should the Colts win, a second game would be played immediately following the 5A championship game.