LAYTON — With only two games remaining in the regular season, the battle for first place in Region 1 is heating up between the Davis Darts and Layton Lancers.
After suffering its first region loss of the season to Layton (13-8, 6-2) on Tuesday, Davis (18-3, 7-1) knew the importance of Thursday's rematch and came out swinging, defeating the Lancers 6-3 and taking control of first place in Region 1.
Over the first three innings, Davis struggled to capitalize when it had runners in scoring position — a runner on second base in the first inning and the bases loaded in the third — and put just one run across the plate.
However, in the top of the fourth inning, Davis juniors Kaden Day and Conner Blaisdell each ripped a single up the middle to get things going offensively for the Darts.
After a strikeout and a walk, Gage Cook stepped up to the plate and roped a two-RBI single to right-center field to bring home Day and Blaisdell, putting the Darts up 3-0.
Davis gave up two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning off Parker Kincade's homer and Frankie Aguilar's RBI-single, but the Darts were able to get out of the jam with their lead intact.
Davis' Jackson Peacock started the fifth inning off with a deep double to right-center field, which seemed to ignite the Darts' bats.
Peacock would later slide safely into home off Day's single to left field, which Cook followed with a two-out, two-RBI single that gave the Darts a commanding 6-2 lead.
Day and Cook both came up big down the stretch for Davis, as they went 3 for 4 and 2 for 5 from the plate, respectively, and combined for five RBIs.
"Those were huge. With guys on base, you just hope you can get a hit at that point in time, which we struggled to do earlier in the game. We knew coming in to this game, we make one mistake and we're done," said head coach Dave Leo.
Davis pitcher Zac Fuller and the Darts' defense gave up just one run the rest of the way to ensure the key victory. Fuller was impressive on the mound, as he fanned 12 batters in a full seven innings of work.
"The kid is amazing," Leo said. "Everyone in this dugout wanted me to pull him in the seventh inning, so I asked him and he said, 'I'm finishing.'
"I mean, I welcome advice, but I do not always take it. And I'm glad I let him finish."
With the win, Davis took sole possession of first place in Region 1 and improved to 7-1 in region play. The Darts will face Syracuse on Tuesday.
With the loss, Layton drops to 6-2 in region play and sits in second place. The Lancers will next take on visiting Fremont on Tuesday.
Ryan Love was born and raised in Holladay, Utah, and is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications. Ryan became a part-time employee for the Deseret News in October 2012. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org