Not only is he a good player, but he’s a really, really good kid and a kid that people just like to be around. He’s a positive influence on anybody that comes around him. —Valley coach Joseph Sorensen
During the 1A baseball regular season, Valley was only the third-best team in the southern region. In the playoffs though, led by senior Garrett Spencer, there was no stopping the Buffaloes.
Spencer backed up a fantastic regular season with a dominant state tournament and he’s been named the 2017 Deseret News 1A Baseball MVP.
“Not only is he a good player, but he’s a really, really good kid and a kid that people just like to be around. He’s a positive influence on anybody that comes around him,” said Valley coach Joseph Sorensen.
Spencer ended the season with a .469 batting average, and on the mound finished with 57 strikeouts in 60 innings and a 1.63 ERA.
His two biggest victories on the mound came in the playoffs.
He pitched the maximum 110 pitches in a 6-0 quarterfinal victory over Tabiona and then four days later again pitched the maximum 110 pitches in a 7-5 championship game victory over Panguitch.
Spencer was forced to exit the game when he reached the UHSAA’s mandated 110 pitch count, but Orrin Wood got Valley out of the jam for the school’s first state title since 2014.
Spencer was equally as dominant at the plate during the three-game playoff push as he went 9 for 10 with two walks.
“He moved to leadoff midway through the season, and when he took over that position he was very, very hard to get out,” said Sorensen.
In the semifinals against a 23-0 Piute team that beat Valley three times during the regular season, Spencer wasn’t available to pitch but made a huge impact defensively at shortstop and then at the plate going 3 for 3.
Sorensen said it was no coincidence Spencer stepped up so big in handing Piute its first loss of the season. He and his teammates had been extra focused after losing to Piute in last year’s championship.
“I think a lot of our team took that really hard, and really, really wanted some revenge I guess you could say, and they worked really hard to do that. They knew it would be a battle any time we played them,” said Sorensen.
Spencer was the catalyst behind everything.
“This year in baseball he really stepped up as a leader. He pushed all the other kids. He was usually one of the first ones to get to practice and one of the last ones to leave. Any times we had mornings, he’d try and get kids to come and hit off tees in their free time,” said Sorensen.
Spencer finished the season with 12 doubles, two triples, 19 RBI and a .527 on-base percentage.
Deseret News 1A All-State Baseball Team
P/SS: Garrett Spencer, Valley, Sr.
1A First Team
P/3B: McClain Roundy, Valley, Jr.
P/1B: Orrin Wood, Valley, Jr.
P/SS: Wyatt Van Orden, Wayne, Jr.
P: Kesler Blood Piute, Sr.
C: Gates Fullmer, Piute, Sr.
P/2B: Tanner Kennedy, Piute, Sr.
P/C: Jace Eyre, Panguitch, Sr.
SS/P: Beau Sylvester, Piute, Sr.
P/SS: Austyn Brinkerhoff, Bryce Valley, Sr.
P/SS: Easton Syrett, Bryce Valley, Sr.
P: Gaige Reilley, Tabiona, Jr.
Braxten Petersen, Tintic, Sr.
P/SS: Will LaLonde, West Ridge, Sr.
P/OF: Paden Peterson, Wayne, Sr.
1A Second Team
IF: Danny Goulding, Valley, Sr.
OF: Cameron Franklin, Valley, Jr.
SS: Acey Orton, Panguitch, Jr.
P/SS: Remington Motte, Pinnacle, Sr.
P: Trey Vetere, Green River, Jr.
SS/P: Kevin Biel, ICS, Sr.
SS: Koby Thacker, Tabiona, Jr.
C: Max Ahlstrom, Bryce Valley, Jr.
OF: Jackson Hall, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
2B: Casey Reck, Valley, So.
SS/3B: Boston Englestead, Panguitch, Sr.
1B: Parker Davis, Wayne, Sr.
P/3B: Bridger Brian, Wayne, So.
Jeremy Nielsen, Tintic, Sr.