It’s huge for this group of seniors. I’m proud of them for putting a little run together. —Olympus coach Brent Burton
KEARNS — Olympus won 20 straight games to end the regular season, but the momentum was immediately erased in the opening round of the 5A state tournament with a surprising loss to Bountiful.
One week later, the Titans are in the midst of another winning streak.
Olympus won a pair of games on Tuesday at Kearns High School, beating Timpanogos 5-2 in the first game and then Cottonwood 7-3 in the second game for its fifth straight victory in the 5A one-loss bracket.
“It’s huge for this group of seniors,” said Olympus coach Brent Burton, whose team advances to the final three of the 5A playoffs with the victories. “I’m proud of them for putting a little run together.”
Olympus got a great pitching performance from Jared Droubay in the nightcap, which included a 41-minute lightning delay, to eliminate defending 5A state champion Cottonwood.
The Titans have a quick turnaround with a game at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday at UVU against the loser of the 11 a.m. Skyridge-Jordan game.
Olympus will need to go deep into its pitching rotation to try to grind out a win on Wednesday. If it's successful, it would advance to Friday’s championship game with its top two starters both available to pitch.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that have been big for us this year, guys like Ben Dellis and Nick Wankier, but we’ll have to piece it together a bit tomorrow, but it’s a good problem to have,” said Burton.
Tuesday’s game against Cottonwood was shaping up to be a pitching duel early between Droubay and Cottonwood’s Carson Angeroth.
Mother Nature had other ideas when lightning moved into the area, forcing a delay with one out in the bottom of the fourth and the game tied at 1-1.
Olympus did most of its damage immediately out of the 41-minute rain delay.
Wankier and Jake Hodgson ripped back-to-back singles out of the delay, with Hodgson driving in the runner who reached base prior to the delay to put the Titans ahead 2-1.
Titans leadoff hitter Gabe Singer followed by reaching base on an error to load the bases, prompting a pitching change from Cottonwood.
“We came out swinging, put a couple hits together and forced them to make a change pitching-wise,” said Burton.
Reliever Ross Dunn struggled with his control initially, walking two straight runners as Olympus stretched the lead to 4-1. Harrison Creer then drove another run in for the Titans on a sacrifice fly to left, but Cottonwood doubled up a different runner trying to advance to third to get out of the jam only down 5-1.
The Colts immediately got some runs back in the top of the fifth with an RBI single by Daniel Gonzalez and then a wild pitch, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
Dunn made quick work of Olympus in the bottom of the fifth inning with three straight strikeouts, but Olympus starter Jared Droubay put up a goose egg of his own in the sixth inning as he recorded a strikeout for the third out — which was his 110th and final pitch.
Droubay finished the game with seven strikeouts.
“Heck of a job by Jared Droubay. He hasn’t pitched for a good week and a half, we’ve kind of just been riding our one and two, and he’s kind of been our third guy all year. He came out with just a really gutsy performance,” said Burton.
Olympus tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a throwing error and then an RBI ground-out from Hayden Curtis.
Curtis then came on in relief of Droubay in the seventh inning to close things out despite loading the bases with a pair of walks.
Curtis pitched the final two innings against Timpanogos earlier in the day as well.