He’s kind of a quiet kid, and this was the first year he really stepped up and realized his potential. —Valley coach Joseph Sorensen
During the week of the 1A baseball state tournament last fall, there was extra anxiety surrounding Valley’s baseball team.
Kobe Shatto, the Buffaloes’ best pitcher, wasn’t anywhere close to 100 percent. He’d aggravated a rotator cuff injury the week before and couldn’t even pitch in the quarterfinals. In fact, coach Joseph Sorensen played him in left field to minimize how often he had to throw.
In the semifinals three days later, Shatto only pitched to the final two batters as he helped preserve a 4-3 semifinal victory over Tabiona.
“It was the first time he’d pitched in over a week, and he had to change his throwing motion just to be able to throw,” said Sorensen.
Shatto’s success pitching to those two batters, however, gave everyone confidence to put him on the mound in the 1A championship a day later — even though nobody knew how long he’d last.
“We asked him if he was going to be able to do it and he said, ‘You’re not going to keep me away from it,’” said Sorensen.
Incredibly, Shatto went out and pitched the game of his life. The senior mowed down one Wayne hitter after another, finishing with a one-hit shutout as Valley rolled past Wayne 10-0 to capture the 1A state championship.
Shatto struck out seven and only faced 24 batters.
“Came in the championship game and threw one of the most amazing games he’s ever thrown,” said Sorensen.
Shatto wasn’t just good in the championship. He was Valley’s best pitcher and batter all season and is the 2014 Deseret News 1A baseball MVP.
He finished the season with a 6-0 record and 47 strikeouts on the mound. At the plate, he finished with a team-high .493 batting average along with four home runs, 35 hits and an .859 slugging percentage.
“He’s kind of a quiet kid, and this was the first year he really stepped up and realized his potential,” said Sorensen. “Any big game we had we pitched him and he won every single one of them. He was our best hitter too, he led us in home runs triples and doubles and had the highest batting average.”
What he did in the championship, pitching through pain, was his greatest accomplishment and his teammates rallied behind that leadership and pounded out 18 hits in a 10-0 victory over a team it lost to in the regular-season finale just a week earlier.
That 7-6 loss to Wayne cost Valley a share of the region championship, and Shatto and his seven other senior teammates took the loss very hard.
Behind Shatto’s leadership, Valley’s players put that defeat behind them quickly and eventually claimed the 1A state championship.
Class 1A First Team
Kaden Blood, Piute, Sr.
Logan Steed, Piute, Sr.
T.J. Hughes, Green River, Sr.
Bailey Hogan, Tabiona, Sr.
Dason Houston, Panguitch, Jr.
Brendan Robins, Wayne, Jr.
Brigg Blackburn, Wayne, Sr.
Zack Allen, Piute, Sr.
Cobe Reck, Valley, So.
Jake Stevens, Wayne, Sr.
Jayden Coburn, Piute, Sr.
Austin Spencer, Valley, Sr.
Reno Humphrey, Tabiona, Jr.
Trey Barney, Panguitch, So.
Class 1A Second Team
Bridger Steele, Tintic, Jr.
Matt Morton, St. Joseph, So.
Trace Torgerson, Escalante, Sr.
Landon Chappell, Wayne, So.
Jake Spencer, Valley, So.
Nick Gruet, St. Joseph, Jr.
Dusty Jones, Tabiona, Jr.
Chance Pfander, Green River, Sr.
Jaden Ellett, Wayne, Jr.
Preston Harris, Valley, Sr.
Regan Brian, Wayne, Sr.
Ryan Westwood, Piute, Sr.
Braden Brian, Wayne, Sr.
Coleman Sorensen, Valley, Sr.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.