Cottonwood baseball season ends abruptly in the state tournament third roundJul 26, 2021 03:08PM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
A surprise to many after a scintillating finish to the season seeing that the Cottonwood baseball team did enough to earn the No. 4 seed, but the dreams of getting back to their third state title game in four years was not to be.
The Colts got the 4-seed and a bye through the first and second rounds of the 5A state tournament, but ran into a hot Orem Tigers team in the third round, a team that ironically made it all the way to the state semifinals.
Going into the state tournament, Cottonwood (12-2, 17-8) got where it was by winning 10 straight, if you don’t include the non-league loss to Stansbury—a school the Colts will face several times in a tough new region in 2022. The Colts were clearly one of the favorites to win this 5A title.
But Orem wasn’t having that. The visiting Tigers limited Cottonwood to three hits and won the first game in the best-of-three series 4-1, setting up, surprisingly, an elimination game the next day at home for the Colts.
On May 21 things were even worse for the Colts, who were not only three-hit—they were shut out 4-0, their worst loss in a few months.
But Cottonwood athletic director Gregg Southwick said some lumps were expected to be taken this year. And so for the Colts to have won as many games as they did under new head coach Chris Shelton was a nice surprise.
“This was a team that struggled early, and in just being a bit younger team it took some time for them to figure it out,” he said. “But we seemed to ramp up as the season went on.”
There were other outside factors that probably contributed to the Colts’ early exit, but for the athletic director even the upset to Orem didn’t resonate with him as being a total loss.
“They did better than what we actually expected,” Southwick said. “We lost some good kids to other schools, and everybody was kind of in the same boat this year. But I felt that with having a new head coach, we exceeded all of our expectations.”