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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood baseball seeks to erase sting of early upset at state with a solid preseason

Apr 03, 2022 07:33PM ● By Brian Shaw

Third baseman Parker Burk gets on base against Corner Canyon in preseason. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

Having been listed among the favorites to lift yet another state championship, the Cottonwood Colts baseball team had an abrupt ending to their quest for a second consecutive class 5A state title when Orem swept them at Cottonwood in a shocking upset to knock the Colts out of the 2021 state tournament.

This year, most media outlets don’t even have the Colts listed as one of the top five teams in Class 5A.

But, if there appears to be any hitch in the Colts trot, you can’t tell from the way they’re galloping through their preseason, for the most part.

Cottonwood (5-2) is deep this year. In its first two games that were wins at Taylorsville (10-6) and at Brighton (9-5) on March 14 and March 15, the Colts bats only had six hits apiece, displaying the on-base mastery and engineering of runs — despite not having heavy hitters in the lineup.

At the KJ Harrison Classic in St. George honoring the Snow Canyon High School player of the same name who drowned in 2012, the Colts trounced Ridgeline 15-0 manufacturing runs from nine different players — but no home runs — and then dispatched a feisty Provo team 3-2 on March 18.

That formula is a big part of what earned the Colts a state title in 2019 under then-head coach Jason Crawford (now an assistant at SLCC). Also, new head coach Chris Shelton was Crawford’s assistant and personally recommended by the former Cottonwood head coach to take over.

The other part to the magic formula in 2019 was having lively arms on the mound. The Colts have already trotted out five different pitchers this season, and we’re only seven games in. Three of those arms are unbeaten, including sophomore Hayden Hudman, who is 2-0 thus far along with sophomore Keaton Stinson, also 2-0. Senior Jaycob Green is 1-0 for the Colts as a pitcher as well.

At the plate, junior Cameron Nielson has led the way for Cottonwood. At press time he had eight RBI to go with three doubles and has also hit the Colts only home run this season. Junior Jaxson Pfeil has 7 RBI as well, while the duo of seniors Green and Tavish Snow each have five.

The Colts had two losses, both of which came at the KJ Harrison Classic in St. George on March 19, both against 5A schools Jordan [2-12] and Springville [2-3] on March 19. It is probably a bit premature to look much into those setbacks, largely because the Colts were playing their third and fourth games in less than 48 hours.

Back at home in the friendly confines of Cottonwood’s baseball stadium on March 23, however, the Colts got back to doing what they do best, and that’s manufacturing runs to win. Against Corner Canyon, the Colts won 7-6 when Pfeil was hit by a pitch, bringing home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Preseason play will continue through March. Region play in the new, realigned Class 5A Region 7 is set to begin, weather permitting, on April 1.

The Cottonwood baseball team for 2022 is: Domenic Versluis, Tavish Snow, Zachary Soran, Avery Doezie, Cameron Nielson, Parker Burk, Easton Smith, Curtis Straup, Brandon Lowe, Hayden Hudman, Jaycob Green, Jordan Fallis, Jaxon Fox, Vincent Smith, Austin Carver, Logan Hunick, Jaxon Pfeil, Ethan Wayment, Parker Plough, Keaton Stinson, Alex Fox, Julian Sanderson, Derek Slagowski and Hudson Burbank.