SALT LAKE CITY — The No. 1 seed out of Region 4 can be tabbed as the 6A tournament favorite most years, and although this year's version is no different, Region 4 champion Pleasant Grove (17-8 overall) isn't a clear choice to win it all.
Take the Vikings' 8-4 region record, which left them tied with American Fork (16-8) on top of the Region 4 standings, for starters. Throw in the just three games separating both the Vikings and Cavemen from Lone Peak (13-11) and defending champion Bingham (10-12), and it gives credence to the notion that any team out of Region 4 could make a deep run.
"Anyone can beat just anyone else on any given day in our region and it seems to be that way every year," said Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry. "But getting that one seed was our top goal after what was kind of a down year for us last year."
Home field counts for a lot in most instances and Henry believes it can play big for his team in this year's tournament.
"Getting that top seed means you get two home games and that's really big for us," he said. "We play very well at Pleasant Grove and we knew if we got that first seed that we could really get ourselves in a good position."
The Vikings begin tournament play Monday taking on Hunter (9-16). American Fork starts off versus Hillcrest (8-15) with Lone Peak set to take on Cyprus (21-4) and Bingham squaring off against Kearns (15-10.)
But the tournament isn't all about Region 4, not even close. Other top teams include Cyprus, Region 3 champion Copper Hills (15-10) and Fremont (17-8), which won out a tiebreaker on top of Region 1 with Davis (16-9).
"We're not as familiar with the teams outside of Region 4, obviously, but we definitely know how good a lot of those teams are," Henry said. "We know Davis is a great team, and then you have Copper Hills and, yeah, baseball is just getting better and better around the state with a lot of great teams to contend with. It makes it a lot of fun."
Fremont and Davis open up tournament play taking on West Jordan (9-15) and Herriman (13-9), respectively. Copper Hills starts off taking on Syracuse (13-11) with Riverton (12-11) opening up versus Clearfield (12-13.)Comment on this story
The tournament is a double-elimination event that concludes May 24 at Utah Valley University. As always, getting through to be the last team standing will be a challenge and involve several different factors.
"You always have to get a bit lucky to win this thing, but you also need to be consistent with everything else," Henry said. "We've been fortunate to win it before, but we've also had our share of disappointments. But I love this time of the year and I'm anxious to see how it goes."