No. 2 Timpanogos punched its ticket to the 5A baseball state tournament semifinals Tuesday evening, beating Salem Hills 10-2 in a game it never trailed.
The last time the Timberwolves topped the Skyhawks was in 2016, when Timpanogos went on to win the state title, and the team is hopeful history repeats itself.
Timberwolves senior pitcher Tate MacGillivary got everything going for his team. Starting from the mound, the lanky ace set the tone, earning two strikeouts in the top of the first inning before leading off the batting order in the bottom of the inning and using a hard-fought at bat to hit a single into left field.
“When you have somebody on the mound that can throw a zero at the top of the inning and come up and (the) same guy leads off with a really good at-bat where he fouls off two or three, finally gets a good pitch to hit … that just sets a good direction,” Timpanogos head coach Kim Nelson said.
“He’s a wiry kid. I mean, you’d look at him and he just doesn’t look that strong, but he’s a strong kid. … Throwing just as hard (in the) seventh inning, 100 pitches into the game.”
The Timberwolves have started to come into their own the last couple days, earning a nine-run victory Monday before Tuesday’s eight-run triumph.
Nelson said his team picked a great time to hit its stride, attributing that success to his players.
“They’re just good kids,” he said. “We’ve had a really good year and (we’re) just trying to finish it out the way we should.”
Timpanogos began Tuesday evening just the way it wanted. After retiring all three Skyhawks that came to the plate in the top half of the first, the Timberwolves got to work with their bats, taking a 5-0 lead in their half of the first.
A standup triple from senior designated hitter Tanner Morgan brought three runs in and gave his team its first of four extra base hits.
From the second inning on, MacGillivary pitched with the luxury of a lead until getting relieved midway through the seventh.
“As soon as we got that five runs it (gave me) a lot of relief,” MacGillivary said. “It felt very nice to get a couple (runs) up there and get in there, throw some strikes, help the team out.”
MacGillivary brought the next run home for Timpanogos with an RBI double in the fourth. The Timberwolves would score three runs in the inning before adding two more in the sixth.
Salem Hills finally got on the board in the fifth, earning four of its seven total hits and scoring a pair of runs.
The second game of the night was almost as one-sided as the first. Defending 5A champion and No. 4 seeded Lehi advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal with a 5-0 victory over upstart No. 17 Woods Cross.
The Pioneers scored two runs in the first before adding three in the fourth. Lehi’s shutout victory gives the team its 11th consecutive win and marked the third time this season that the Wildcats have been held scoreless.
The state tournament will resume Wednesday with Timpanogos playing the winner of the morning’s matchup between Salem Hills and No. 6 Jordan.
Woods Cross and No. 5 Viewmont face off in the early afternoon for the right to play Lehi in the evening.