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South Salt Lake Journal

For Cottonwood baseball, a new region means tougher competition

May 06, 2024 03:28PM ● By Brian Shaw

Junior Ladanian Gutierrez leads off at first base after his inning-opening single. (City Journals)

To get ready for the gauntlet that is Region 10, the Cottonwood High Colts baseball team scheduled some pretty heavy opposition from out of town. 

“We’re in a tough region,” said Cottonwood Athletic Director Greg Southwick. 

So, the Colts lined up the Bear River [Utah] Bears. And had the fortune of drawing Vauxhall Academy out of Canada as well as Bishop Gorman and Centennial out of Las Vegas, among others.

But, Cottonwood [9-11, 5-7 Region 10] wrapped up the month of March by winning four out of their first six region contests. 

Then, they traveled to Las Vegas for the Bishop Gorman Tournament April 2-4 where they were shut out by that team from Canada, 0-8 and lost to Centennial by the final score of 1-26. 

At that tourney, Cottonwood turned around and defeated host Bishop Gorman 10-6 after senior Austin Carver struck out six batters he faced and five Colts players hit two RBI apiece in the victory. 

The Colts would wrap up the tournament with a 4-7 loss to Redondo Beach (California) that was only decided in the top of the seventh when Cottonwood gave up three runs. 

But, this strength of schedule is needed when you consider who the Colts would be facing in Region 10 action. 

Having already played and defeated Stansbury and Tooele two out of the three times they played, the Colts had their work cut out for them against Park City in a three-game series. 

The Colts got the game one victory playing the way the boys know best—manufacturing runs. Senior Robbie Jensen scattered three hits over seven innings of work and struck out three in a 6-5 win over PC. 

Otto Wayman was big at the plate for Cottonwood as the senior was three-for-three with a walk and two RBI, while Brighton Young slammed in three runs. 

Back at Cate Field for game two, Park City busted open a 1-1 tie in the top of the second, scoring seven runs and handing Cottonwood an 11-22 loss, April 10. The Colts tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the fifth, to no avail. Park City added five more runs in the bottom half of the fifth and sixth innings. Carver struck out five in the loss for a Cottonwood team that got 11 hits but gave up 26. 

In game three, the Colts got rocked by Park City by the score of 3-13, April 12. It marked the first time all season that Cottonwood has lost a three-game series to any opponent in Region 10 play. 

The Colts run-scoring woes continued at Juan Diego during another three-game series starting April 16. Cottonwood trotted out Jensen, who looked good through three innings of shutout ball in game one.

In turn, the Colts bats heated up as John Pipe and Angel Mavarez-Gonzalez each drove in a run. But Jensen couldn’t hold those Juan Diego bats off in the bottom of the fourth or the fifth as Cottonwood was handed a 2-4 defeat. 

In game two of this three-game series, Carver took the mound at home April 17 and scattered nine hits over seven innings of hard work. The problem was that the Colts bats didn’t answer the call and Cottonwood lost in a 4-5 nailbiter. 

Back at the friendly confines of Cate Field for game three, the Colts got shelled for 19 hits in a 6-17 loss. Jensen hit three RBI for Cottonwood. 

On the season, the 6-foot-3-inch Jensen has been the Colts’ ace. The senior now has a 3-2 record with 31 strikeouts. Carver is clearly Cottonwood’s No. 2 arm with a 2-2 overall record but actually has more strikeouts [37]. 

The hunt for Cottonwood’s third pitcher seems to be ongoing; three players have each had two or more starts under new head coach Gavin Duckworth. 

Jensen leads the way with 16 RBI but two juniors, Ladanian Gutierrez and Isaiah Cosby, have each hit 12 RBI. Seniors John Pipe and Carver have 10 and nine, respectively while juniors Young and Mavarez-Gonzalez, have driven in eight and seven runs. λ