That might be the best high school pitched game I’ve seen, both sides were really good, they threw a lot of strikes. —Skyridge head coach Ryan Roberts
KEARNS — Skyridge junior Carter Smith was in a groove on the mound on Monday night, and there was nothing Cottonwood's potent line-up could do about it.
Smith struck out eight and only allowed four hits in a dominant pitching performance as he led Skyridge to the 3-0 victory in the 5A quarterfinals. Cottonwood hadn’t been shutout all season.
“That might be the best high school pitched game I’ve seen, both sides were really good, they threw a lot of strikes,” said Skyridge coach Ryan Roberts. “Carter was just dominant tonight, he was throwing three pitches for strikes and if you do that in high school you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Smith was well aware of how explosive Cottonwood’s bats had been this season and was excited for the challenge.
“I was ready to compete, I’m always competing so I was ready to go for it and get after it,” said Smith, who threw his fastball, slider and change-up for strikes all game.
With the victory, Skyridge advances in the 5A winners bracket at the will face Jordan at UVU on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The teams met in the first game of the season, with Jordan winning 6-4 as it turned a double play for the last out of the game.
Defending 5A state champion Cottonwood drops down into the 5A one-loss bracket and will turn around and play Wasatch on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Kearns High School.
Smith retired the 11 of the last 12 batters he faced to keep Skyridge in the winners bracket. The first inning was the only time Cottonwood even threatened to score.
After Jason Luke drew a one-out walk in the first inning, Ross Dunn followed by smashing a double off the center field wall. Roberts told Smith to attack the next two batters, and he did by striking both out.
“That’s the sign of a quality pitcher when you get guys on third base with less than two outs and you’re able to pitch out of those jams,” said Roberts.
Cottonwood managed just three singles the rest of the way, and none ever reached scoring position as Skyridge catcher Kai Roberts threw out the one runner who tried to steal second in the third inning.
“I’ve got the best defense in the state behind me so I’m just throwing strikes and they can make plays and I know they will,” said Smith.
Skyridge did all its damage offensively in the third inning.
Jackson Kohler led off the inning with a walk, and two batters later scored on a single by Nate Upham after moving into scoring position on a stolen base. Following back-to-back singles by Klayton Driggs and Jaxon Peck to load the bases, Upham scored on a sacrifice fly to Jace Shepherd to make it a 2-0 game.
Skyridge’s next batter ground out to short to end the inning, but not before pinch runner Scottie Brown stole third and then scored on a throwing error by the catcher to push the lead to 3-0.
“We found a way to score three runs, I’m not sure how we did it, but we did it and that was all that Carter needed tonight to finish the game out,” said Roberts.
Cottonwood ace Porter Hodge picked up the loss, but if Cottonwood can match its way through the one-loss bracket the next two days he could be eligible to pitch again on Friday.