This is what you dream about. It's what you think about as a freshman when you're just trying out. You just think, 'I want to be that guy that day.' —Derek Soffe
OREM — It took Bingham coach Joey Sato about two seconds to decide who would take the mound for his team, right after taking a shocking 7-0 loss at the hands of Riverton on Friday. The decision was rather obvious, given the Miners' pool of prominent seniors, and one in particular who has led the team all year long.
As usual, the prominent senior responded.
Derek Soffe pitched a complete game shutout for the Miners, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out nine, helping secure a 9-0 win over Riverton along with the program's 22nd baseball state championship.
"There wasn't any discussion on that one," Sato said of the decision to use Soffe for Bingham's first elimination game of the 6A state tournament. "He's going to have the ball and let's go because he's going to be ready."
Indeed the decision was easy, considering Soffe leading the team in both batting and hitting throughout the year. The senior ended the day striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh, after which saw the jubilant dog-pile of elated players form at home plate.
"This is what you dream about," Soffe said after his team received the championship trophy. "It's what you think about as a freshman when you're just trying out. You just think I want to be that guy that day."
As always, Soffe's magnificent day didn't come without a lot of help.
Sure, the senior was dealing from the mound from the start, but so was Riverton starter Zack Peterson, until Bingham senior Noah Wallick strode to the plate with two runners on and one out in the top of the inning.
Wallick was looking to go the other way with the pitch but received one he knew he could absolutely crush. The result was a hit which cleared the left field fence at UCCU Ballpark by a wide margin, giving the Miners a 3-0 lead.
"I don't think I've ever hit a ball that hard in my life," Wallick said. "It's crazy when you have so many brothers pulling for you."
All of those brothers made certain to greet Wallick at home plate, and then used Wallick's sudden surge of momentum to stretch the lead inning-by-inning.
Camden Snarr finished off the third with a 2-RBI double for a 6-0 lead before Brandon Thomas slapped through a 2-RBI double of his own for an 8-0 lead after four innings played. Then it was Soffe topping off the scoring with an RBI single in the fifth for a 9-0 lead, which proved to be the final.
"It opened things up. We started going right after that," Soffe said, referring back to Wallick's home run. "We just kept scoring runs after that. So shout out to him. He's worked his butt off and I love him to death."
As mentioned, Bingham was blessed with 13 seniors, whose leadership Sato cited throughout the season. In appropriate fashion, it was a seldom-used senior, Tyler Kemp who provided the Miners' final hit on Friday, which Sato made certain to point out.
"He's been a unifying force for us in the dugout and he keeps our guys going," Sato said. "So for him to come up and get a hit at the end — that's well-deserved. Good things happen to good kids, and that's a great example, right there."
Joining the 13 seniors going out on top was Bingham assistant coach Rand Rasmussen, who plans on retiring after this season. Rasmussen was mentioned by players as the coach who calmed everything down after taking the opening loss to Riverton on Friday, along with playing a big impact on the team's overall success.
"We wanted to do one more for Rand," Sato said. "So it's nice for him to go out like this because he's a big part of our program."
As for that first loss, it came as a bit of shock, considering how the Miners were rolling coming into Friday's play.
"We haven't been that bad for a long time," Sato said. "It's sort of uncharacteristic."
But Sato was also quick to credit Riverton's play and the work of its head coach Jay Applegate.
"That's a great ballclub over there, and they deserve to be here," Sato said.
But once again it was Bingham, proving to be the top team as it does in so many sports, from football to basketball, and now to baseball, once again.
"The tradition here is crazy," Soffe said. "It's just a tradition here that we love to carry on, and it's good to be part of it."
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