There’s four or five teams you look at as favorites. I’ve certainly been impressed with what Cyprus and Davis have done, but when you think of favorites, I think everyone first thinks of Bingham and American Fork. —Riverton coach Jay Applegate
There's a lot of unknowns entering any statewide tournament, but for the 6A baseball tournament, all coaches seem to know who the two favorites are, and for good reason.
Those two favorites are Bingham (16-9) and American Fork (19-6) after both teams proved impressive throughout the regular season and have built reputations as two of the more consistently good programs throughout the state.
The Miners edged out the Cavemen for the Region 4 championship on the final week of the season, earning a No. 1 seed with their senior-laden team. Both programs are perennial powerhouses and almost always in contention for a state title.
“There’s four or five teams you look at as favorites. I’ve certainly been impressed with what Cyprus and Davis have done, but when you think of favorites, I think everyone first thinks of Bingham and American Fork," said Riverton coach Jay Applegate.
“Everyone knows who those teams are and how good they are,” added Davis coach Josh Godfrey. “They’re so well-coached, and yeah, they have absolutely fantastic programs. They’ve earned the attention.”
The Silverwolves (17-8) enter the playoffs with the No. 1 seed out of Region 3, beating out Copper Hills by three full games for the region title.
“Hopefully we’re peaking at the right time. That’s always the hope, and it’s the same with every program,” Applegate said of his team. “Our rotation has been very good, and then we have a lot of guys hitting over .400,” Applegate said. “So there’s been a good balance.”
Riverton will open play against Kearns (8-15) in the first round on Tuesday.
As for Cyprus (17-7) and Davis (18-6), both secured No. 1 seeds, winning the Region 2 and Region 1 crowns, respectively. Davis hopes to reverse losing two straight state playoffs games last year after finishing the regular season undefeated.
“We had only one player returning, so we’re a pretty young team. But there’s three seniors who have really led the team,” Godfrey said. “They’re guys who aren’t known all that well, but they’ve really had good years and led us to where we’re at.”
The three seniors referenced by Godfrey are Cody Christensen, Zach Hoskins and Zacery Mansfield. Together they're hoping to turn a lot of the focus away from Utah County and up north for at least this season.
“People don’t focus on what’s going on up here, but there’s some really good baseball players,” Godfrey said. “Region 1 has been tough, and it’s prepared us well for the playoffs, I feel. Taking on Region 4 — it’s a tough draw, but you have to play the best eventually, so why not right off?”
Davis will open play Tuesday taking on Lone Peak (10-13.)
Cyprus begins play taking on West Jordan (8-15) while Bingham will open up versus Weber (14-11.)
Tournament play will continue until May 25, with the championship game held at Utah Valley University.