It’s amazing. It’s amazing. What a feeling, these kids, I’m so happy for them. All the hard work they put in, the community, everybody, it means a lot. —North Sevier head coach Joshua Robinson
WEST JORDAN — The North Sevier baseball team dogpiled on the mound in celebration after winning its first baseball championship in school history.
For the Wolves, it was a long road to finally hoisting the hardware. Saturday featured a three-hour delayed start time due to weather, a venue change, and two seven-inning games before North Sevier finally emerged as 2A state baseball champions after defeating Kanab 9-7.
“It’s amazing. It’s amazing. What a feeling, these kids, I’m so happy for them. All the hard work they put in, the community, everybody, it means a lot. I’m glad that these kids were able to get that done and get to see it through,” North Sevier head coach Joshua Robinson said.
Because the 2A state tournament was double-elimination, North Sevier — who beat Kanab in the semifinals of the no-loss bracket — met Kanab in the championship. A weather delay forced the game to move from Ken Price Ball Park in Murray to Salt Lake Community College in West Jordan, meaning a move from a grass field to a turf field.
The Cowboys beat the Wolves 5-2 in the first game of the afternoon to force a winner-take-all championship game. Treydon Chatterly was huge for Kanab in the first contest, cracking a two-RBI single in the second inning to set the tone for the first game. Angel Moreno pitched four scoreless innings to force the decisive second game.
“We knew Kanab was going to be good today. That’s a dang good team, they are so tough, so well-coached, so good defensively. They got us that first game, and we just told the kids, ‘There’s one more game, they’ve got to beat us twice, and it’s hard to beat this team twice. We’ve just got to go and score runs and it’s going to take a team effort,’” Robinson said.
In the final game, the score was knotted at two runs apiece when Rylan Crane, who came up big for North Sevier in the semifinal, hit an inside-the-park grand slam to put the Wolves up 6-2.
“Unbelievable job there. Gets his pitch, he’s been hitting well for us all state tournament, and he drove it. With this turf field, it’s so fast that it’s hard to get there, and he was able to get an inside-the-park. Never seen that before, and it really propelled us,” Robinson said. “I think that was what woke us up and got us through. It was incredible.”
“It was huge. It shifted the momentum. That first inning, we were down two and then I hit that ball out there and score four runners off of that, that was huge for us,” Crane said.
After Kanab came back with a run in both the third and fourth innings to close the gap to two, Burke Mickelsen hit a two-RBI double to increase the lead to four. Kanab scored three runs in the fifth inning — all unearned because of North Sevier errors — to get within one.
But every time that Kanab was threatening to take the lead, North Sevier would seemingly tap into another gear and extend their lead.
“We just kept preaching from yesterday, they never went away. That team always fights back, they always come back. We just kept saying, ‘Hey, we got to get another run, get another run, get two more runs, we just have to keep scoring runs,’” Robinson said.
The Wolves added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a Brooks Mickelsen RBI single. Then, freshman pitcher Brody Butler came in to shut the door, and, after the third out, celebration ensued.
“What a freshman, huh? Just a freshman, smallest guy on the team, but he’s a gamer. What else can you say about him. He had a smile on his face, he had no pressure, he came in after making that error when they score three runs in the sixth and said, ‘Don’t worry coach, I got us. Give me the ball,’ and he did it. Unbelievable to watch a freshman like that do that, and he knew he had his team behind him. Just an incredible team effort today,” Robinson said.
After the game, Crane, who was named the winning pitcher, was at a loss for words after the championship win.
“It’s awesome. It’s way awesome. Words can’t even come out of my mouth, how awesome that is,” Crane said.