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Orem earns momentum with Regional round victory over Box Elder

By Darnell Dickson - | May 16, 2022
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Orem's Owen Miller (left) reaches home plate and is greeted by teammate Easton Davies after hitting a home run during a Class 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem catcher Sawyer Slade throws the ball back to the pitcher during a Class 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem's Cohen Strickland drops his bat and runs to first base during a Class 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem players surround Owen Miller after he hit a home run against Box Elder during a 5A State Tournament game on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem's Owen Miller takes a throw at second base during a 5A State Tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Box Elder's Cooper Stevenson delivers a pitch against Orem in a Class 5A state tournament game on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem pitcher Easton Davies (left) meets on the mound with coach Carl Hermanson and catcher Sawyer Slade during a 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem's Easton Davies delivers a pitch during a 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.
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Orem's Cohen Strickland takes a swing in Class 5A state tournament game against Box Elder on Monday, May 16, 2022.

The top eight seeds received a bye into the Super Regionals of the 5A state baseball tournament.

Orem was awarded a No. 9 seed, but that was OK with Tigers coach Carl Hermansen.

The Tigers finished their Region 8 schedule with five straight losses, with four of the games decided in the final inning. While getting a bye gives a pitching staff some rest, Hermansen said his team needed to get on the field and get their groove back.

Orem did just that in the best-of-three Regional round, eliminating No. 23 Box Elder with a 7-4 win on Saturday and a 5-2 victory on Monday.

“As much as it’s great to have a bye and be in that top eight, we really needed to get back and get winning,” Hermansen said. “We were controlling our own destiny to be region champs and then all of a sudden we lose five in a row. Obviously, we lost to two really good teams. Timpanogos rolls out about the best pitching staff in the state and Jordan, they can really hit the ball. We just made a couple of mistakes and couldn’t get the big hit. So it was frustrating, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to beat everybody, anyway.”

The Tigers got all the offense they would need against Box Elder in the third inning. With the score tied at 1-all, Cohen Strickland, Alex Hansen and Owen Miller hit home runs in three consecutive at-bats, pushing Orem’s lead to 5-1. Strickland took a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run blast and Hansen’s solo shot was to virtually the same spot. Miller’s homer run exited the park over the center field wall.

“I feel like once we went through the lineup and we all saw the pitcher had, we kind of knew how it was on his curveball,” said Hansen, who continued his hot hitting after driving in five runs on Saturday. “We made the adjustment as a team and just went out there not trying to do too much. We just wanted to put a good swing on the ball and we hit three home runs. It was a lot of momentum going back to back and then Owen Miller got up and he did his job as well.”

Starting pitcher Easton Davies struggled to find the zone consistently for Orem early but aside from an RBI double from Landen Golmon in the first inning Davies handled his business, giving up four hits and striking out four in five innings before giving way to Blake Brotherson for the final six outs.

“Easton is electric when he’s around the zone,” Hermansen said. “He came on late this season because his shoulder was really tight early on. We hope he’s starting to get into good form as we finish up the season because he’s got good stuff.”

Box Elder, which starts five sophomores, got four hits from Golmon and finished the season 13-15.

The regional round finishes on Monday and the Utah High School Activities Association will re-seed the teams for the Super Regionals, which is also best of three. Barring some major upsets, Orem (19-8) will travel across town to play No. 8 seed Timpanogos. The Timberwolves won all three Region 8 games with the Tigers, two of them by one run.

“It’ll be good to have another crack at it,” Hermansen said. “We know each other well. We play each other all the time and these guys are all friends so it’s all very familiar.It’s always a great test. Kim Nelson has done a phenomenal job there for a long, long time. So you know what you’re up against when you play this game. We’re looking forward to it.”

Hansen added: “We’re all psyched about it. We’re ready.”

 

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