KEARNS – The marquee game Friday at the 3A State Tournament turned out to be the best game of the 3A State Tournament as Logan Lafemina singled home little brother Roman Lafemina with the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the Pine View Panthers to the 3A title game with a 9-8 win over Canyon View Friday night.
It was the capper on a back-and-forth game that saw a little bit of everything.
But somehow, through it all, the defending state champs prevailed.
“We did a lot of things tonight that are out of character for us,” PV coach Troy Wall said. “We had five errors and you can’t do that. You can’t do that and still expect to win the state championship. We’ve got to fix that.”
Pine View did survive by knocking the ball around the yard. The Panthers had 13 hits, including a triple and a homer by Jagun Leavitt and doubles by Jackson Bithell and Tyler Johnston. PV scored in five of the game’s seven innings, including posting up a five-spot in the bottom of the first.
But even with all that, Canyon View grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth when Jackson Vasi socked a grand slam over the 380-foot center field fence at Gates Field. The four-run dinger turned a 6-4 deficit into an 8-6 lead for the Falcons. CV coach Jason Jacobsen before the game said if his team could hold Pine View to “six or seven runs,” that his team had a good chance to win. With the 8-6 lead, it seemed the Falcons may make the coach prophetic.
But the lead wouldn’t last. Pine View cut it to 8-7 in the bottom of the fourth when Leavitt rocked a 1-0 Vasi pitch over the fence in center, just feet from where Vasi’s home run had cleared the fence.
The Panthers squandered a great situation in the bottom of the fifth after getting runners on first and third with no one out on singles by Brooks Barney and Jackson Bithell. Bithell got caught trying to swipe second, then Vasi got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat and strand Barney at third.
PV tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a Canyon View error. With runners on first and second, Connor Clark hit a grounder to third that could have turned into a double play. But Clark beat out a rushed throw on the relay and the ball sailed high, allowing Jarod Stirling to come home from third base.
That set up the winning rally for the Panthers. Barney led off with an infield single on a grounder deep in the hole behind second base. After a strikeout, Erik Sanchez singled on a ball that hit hard off of Vasi’s right shoulder and over toward third base. Johnston then drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases.
After a shallow fly that was the second out, Logan Lafemina stepped to the plate. With his little brother, Roman, pinch-running for Barney at third, Logan Lafemina lined an 0-1 pitch straight up the middle for the walk-off single.
“Logan’s a great hitter and that was pretty special that he was able to knock home his little brother with the winning run,” Wall said.
Pine View, 20-6, would never have been in a position to win the game if not for the relief pitching of Clark. The Panther senior came on in the fifth inning and pitched no hit baseball for the final three innings. Clark walked a batter and hit another. But no Falcon could stroke a base knock and Clark came away with the win.
Pine View will await the winner of Saturday morning’s Cedar-Canyon View matchup (9 a.m.) to see who the Panthers will face in the 11:30 a.m. championship game. Whichever of the two teams emerges will have to beat Pine View twice to keep the Panthers from repeating as state 3A champions.
Cedar 9, Juab 5
In the game that was suspended due to lightning and rain Thursday night, Cedar rallied from down 4-1 to capture the win. Rykker Tom was starting his big day by exploiting the Wasps for two two-run homers.
The game had been suspended in the fourth inning with Juab ahead 4-1, but the morning resumption was all Cedar.
Dixie 10, Carbon 6
The Flyers got early homers from Chance Vowell and Duncan Staheli to build a 6-0 lead. But like they did against Pine View Thursday, Carbon just kept scrapping away, eventually pulling to within 7-6 after a four-run fourth inning. Cody Lowe had a two-run double in the rally and Taylon Abeyta had a two-run single in the inning.
The Dinos were able to load up the bases with no outs and four runs already in during the fourth. That’s when Dixie coach Danny Ipson turned to reliever Wyatt Woodland. The big righty struck out two Carbon hitters and then induced a pop foul that was caught by Vowell to end the threat.
Hobbs Nyberg then doubled home a pair of insurance runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 9-6. Dixie added a run in the seventh and emerged from its third straight elimination game with a win.
Nyberg was 4 for 4 in the game and Woodland had three hits and three runs scored for Dixie, which advanced to the late night elimination game against region rival Cedar.
Cedar 15, Richfield 8
The Redmen got to that late game with a plethora of offense against Region 12’s Richfield. Cedar had 16 hits, including two more two-run homers by Tom, and built a 15-0 lead.
The Wildcats scored seven in the bottom of the fourth to prevent being mercy-ruled, but never seriously threatened to come back in the game.
Cedar 9, Dixie 6
The Flyers led 3-0 by jumping on Cedar starter Ben Hulet in the top of the first inning. But Cedar’s offense was in high gear as it had been all day. The Redmen scored two in the bottom of the first and then Drake Lewis socked a three-run homer to give CHS a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the second.
Dixie cut it to 5-4 in the top of the third when Chase Lundin doubled home Trevor Connell. But Cedar posted up four more runs in the bottom of the third to make it 9-4. Lewis, Tom and Berick Englestead each had RBI singles in the rally. Hobbs Nyberg came in and shut the Redmen down the rest of the game, but the damage was too extensive for the Flyers to overcome.
Hulet, after the rough start, ended up pitching the complete game, throwing 119 pitches and striking out six Dixie batters.
The trio of Treyson Esplin, Tom and Lewis combined to go 6 for 9 with six RBIs and seven runs scored for Cedar, which improved to 16-13 on the season and will play at 9 a.m. against crosstown rival Canyon View for the chance to play in the state championship game.
Tom, a senior shortstop for the Redmen, had four home runs and 11 RBIs in three games Friday.
Connell had four hits for Dixie, which finishes the season 18-8.
Saturday’s 3A Tournament schedule
9 a.m. — Elimination game – Canyon View vs. Cedar
11:30 a.m. — 3A Championship – Pine View vs. Cedar/CV winner
2 p.m. — Championship game B (if necessary)
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