OREM – Bountiful’s Parker DePasquale had a few innings he’d like to throw out the window between Thursday and Friday.
After collecting a shaky save for the Braves in the 4A semi-finals, DePasquale allowed three early runs to Spanish Fork in Friday’s State 4A title game at Brent Brown Stadium on the campus of Utah Valley University.
But he collected himself, pitched solidly for the rest of the game, and helped the Braves beat the Dons 6-4 to give Bountiful its first baseball title in 26 years.
“It’s kinda surreal,” said Braves coach Clark Stringfellow. “I told the team after we ran the table in region that we were only going to play five games, and we did that and it feels great.”
Spanish Fork got on the board first to lead off the game, crossing the plate twice thanks to RBI hits by Brock Nelson and Jade Nielson.
The Dons responded to Bountiful’s run in the bottom of the first by scoring another run in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly.
From that point forward, DePasquale and catcher Masen Jones went with a different plan.
“I noticed that they were hitting my fastball really well and after talking to (Jones) and the coaches we decided to junk the whole game plan,” he said. “I think I only threw three fastballs the last five innings, so it worked.”
In the last five innings, DePasquale allowed only one run and two hits. He pitched a complete game and struck out seven with only a single walk.
“Our whole plan was to stick with Parker,” Stringfellow said. “Even though he got rattled he knew that everyone had his back and we kept everything positive throughout the game.”
Another clutch performer for Bountiful was Ryan Curtis, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBI’s and hit a lead off home run to start the fifth inning, giving the Braves all the runs they needed to win.
“Without those four runs we lose 4-2,” said DePasquale. “That home run completely tilted the momentum. After that home run we knew we weren’t going to lose.”
Curtis’ first RBI came in the first inning after he drove a single to left field, scoring Sam Merrill.
His second and third RBI’s came in the second innings, when he drove another single to right field to drive in Andrew Naegle and Merrill.
The capper was his lead off home run to start the fifth inning, a 1-0 pitch he drove over the right field fence to give Bountiful a 6-4 lead.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to stay fair,” Curtis said. “I’m glad it did.”
Phil Olsen, the coach for the Braves the last time Bountiful won the state 4A title, was in attendance at the game and was praised by Stringfellow following the game.
“He’s my mentor,” Stringfellow said of Olsen. “I’m glad I was able to do the same thing with him here.”
Bountiful ends the season with a 19-game winning streak and a 23-6 overall record this season.