It's real tough to know how we'll match up, but that's what's going to be fun. —Sky View head coach Todd Phillips
Perhaps no classification represents a true state tournament more than 4A, giving this year's baseball tournament some particular intrigue not seen in previous years.
Representing teams from Cache Valley clear down to St. George, top 4A teams are wary of all the unknowns playing teams well beyond their regions.
"It's real tough to know how we'll match up, but that's what's going to be fun," said Sky View coach Todd Phillips. "Baseball up here in the north is often overlooked, but we're hoping to compete well against some of those better-known schools down there."
The Bobcats (18-4) enter the tournament as one of the four No. 1 seeds after securing the Region 12 crown with a 13-2 region record. They did as much after missing the playoffs entirely last season, and with a new attitude that has paid good dividends.
"We're having more fun this year," Phillips said. "We returned a lot of the same players that played last season and changing our approach this year — trying to relax and just believe good things will happen. It's paid off."
Sky View will open play on Saturday taking on Ogden (9-15) in the double-elimination tournament that will be hosted by St. George area schools and Dixie State College.
One of the host schools this year will be defending 3A state champion Dixie (22-3) which narrowly edged out Snow Canyon (22-3) on the final day of Region 9 play to gain a No. 1 seed. Both the Flyers and Warriors enter tournament play as the two favorites that have the attention of opposing coaches.
"We're not as familiar with the teams down here in St. George, but we certainly know the quality of play down here and I have a ton of respect for the coaches," said Spanish Fork coach Gub Nelson, who is no stranger to championship runs, having taken the Dons to the state title in 2015.
This year the Dons (17-8, 11-1 Region 10) took the Region 10 title by an impressive four-game margin over second-place Salem Hills (17-8, 7-5 Region 10.)
"It didn't feel like we won region by a lot, that's for sure," Nelson said. "But I really like how this team has come together and embraced the team concept. They play for each other, and you need that if you hope to win a state tournament."
Spanish Fork will open play Saturday Pine View (14-7.)
The final No. 1 seed belongs to Juan Diego (19-5), which narrowly beat out Park City (19-6) for the Region 11 crown. The Soaring Eagle is no stranger to making good runs in the state tournament and will begin tournament play going up against Mountain Crest (7-14.)
"It's going to be fun. It always is and this is what you look forward to all year," Nelson said. "There's some really good teams we're going to have to get by if we hope to win it, but that's the way it should be."
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