KEARNS — After using a series of upsets to claw their way through the American Legion state tournament, the Spartans earned the undivided attention of a Taylorsville team that didn't want to be the latest victim of an underdog.

The Warriors were determined to start fast and not let off the gas until the final pitch.

"We wanted to go through the whole game strong and see what we were made of," said shortstop Jeff Pratt.

What Taylorsville showed on Friday night is just how dominant it could be. The Warriors scored eight runs to open the first inning on their way to a 19-2 victory at Oquirrh Park.

Taylorsville needs just one more win to clinch the state championship. It will play Cyprus at 2 p.m. today at Oquirrh Park. If the Pirates win that game, a true championship game will be played 30 minutes following the completion of the 2 p.m. game.

In terms of fast starts, it couldn't have been better for the Warriors on Friday.

Zane Pulver put Taylorsville on the board when Eric Wood balked, allowing Pulver to advance from third to home. The Warriors then pushed it to a 3-0 lead when Scott Shipley singled in a pair of runners.

Taylorsville only picked up two outs before going through the batting order — creating a chance to inflict even more damage before the inning was done.

Pulver drove in a pair of runs to make it 6-0. Pratt followed by doubling to left field, sending in two more runners and pushing the lead to 8-0.

"We wanted to get up ahead of these guys because — these last couple of games — they came out and really jumped on a couple of teams," pitcher Preston Olsen said.

The Spartans closed the gap a little when Josh Sturges smacked the ball over the left field fence for a two-run home run to make it 8-2.

It didn't mean much once the Warriors picked up where they left off in the second. Taylorsville punched in four more runs — capped off by Pratt's two-run single along the third baseline — to stake out a 12-2 lead.

By the time Pratt used a triple to centerfield to drive in a couple more runs in the fourth — making it 15-2 at that point — the game was out of reach for the Spartans.

The sheer dominance the Warriors showed has boosted their confidence going in against Cyprus when the two teams battle for the Legion championship at 2 p.m. today at Oquirrh Park

"It gives us momentum knowing we can hit the ball like that and we can play like that," Olsen said.

The Spartans tried to improve their fortunes by making several early pitching changes. Starter Eric Wood lasted 2/3 of an inning before Brandon Glen relieved him. Glen pitched parts of two innings before giving way to Andrew Torgerson.

Wood allowed four runs on three hits, walked three batters, gave up an error on a wild pitch and yielded a stolen base during his brief stay on the mound. Glen did not fare much better — allowing eight runs and walking four batters.

Olsen, on the other hand, struck out four batters and allowed only two hits and two runs in four innings on the mound.

"He's one of our better pitchers, so we knew he'd get his job done," Pratt said. "If we just hit the ball, then it would be over from there."


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