Once one guy gets going we just roll. It's been like that all year and a lot of times it's the bottom of the order. All year long we've gotten contributions from a lot of different guys. —Skyridge's Jace Shepherd
LEHI — It's easy to forgive Jace Shepherd's blatant mistake considering everything else he did for Skyridge during its 11-1 win over Brighton in Tuesday's first-round playoff matchup.
The senior slugger contributed three RBIs on two big hits, which included a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning, which helped shorten the game due to the 10-run rule. His other big hit came in the bottom of the third inning by virtue of a towering shot over the left-field fence.
But although a runner was on base for Shepherd's hit, only one run was counted. Why? Well, the home plate umpire judged the senior didn't touch home plate after rounding the bases.
Shepherd was stunned.
"To be honest, I thought I touched it. I still can't believe I didn't, but yeah, that will never happen again," he said.
For Skyridge coach Ryan Roberts, he was thankful to be able to laugh a bit about it, given the course of Tuesday's game.
"I've been coaching baseball for almost 20 years and I've only seen that happen twice," Roberts said. "Kids get emotional and it was a lot of fun for him to hit that. If the game was a little closer at the end, I may have had some words for him, but fortunately it worked out, and yeah, he came up huge, as he's done throughout the year. He's been an RBI machine."
Also huge for the Falcons was the bottom of the third inning, which saw them string together seven hits for six runs scored in building a commanding 6-1 lead. Getting things going was the bottom of the order — specifically Carter Smith and Cole Worthen, who opened things up with two singles.
"Once one guy gets going we just roll. It's been like that all year and a lot of times it's the bottom of the order," Shepherd said. "All year long we've gotten contributions from a lot of different guys."
The winning hit came off the bat of Kai Roberts, who roped a two-run double to end the game early right after Shepherd's own two-RBI hit.
From the mound it was Smith allowing just one run scored in the top of the first inning while allowing just four hits.
"Carter is one of the premier pitchers in the state. There's no doubt about it," Roberts said. "He allowed that early one, but then really was able to get a lot of outs, and he just pitched like we're used to seeing from him."
Smith was also able to pitch all five innings, something that can prove big during the grind of a double-elimination tournament that only spans two weeks.
"We were planning on using Dax Phillips in relief, but fortunately we didn't have to, and that's big," Roberts said. "He can now start next game, and yeah, that's a real good thing in this tournament, to be able to do that."
With the win, Skyridge advances in the no-loss bracket and will next take on Murray. Brighton bounces down to the one-loss bracket and will try and stave off elimination when taking on Roy.