Pinnacle's first season ends with 1A playoff appearance
Panthers finish season with winning record, including one playoff win in their inaugural season
Trailing by 13 runs and down to their final at-bats of the season, the Pinnacle Canyon Academy Baseball team went out just the way they wanted to.
By having a little fun.
"Down by 13 runs, I just told them not to care about the what score is. It's a beautiful day. Let's keep battling," said PCA head coach Jason Jaramillo.
Despite struggling through the early innings of their 1A quarterfinals game with West Ridge Academy, the Panthers did not standby and watch their season finish up so quietly. Junior Yoni Mediano, senior Jake Hardy and sophomore Isaiah Martinez each scored runs in the final inning before falling to West Ridge Academy 13-3 in five innings in the 1A state quarterfinals on Tuesday morning in Spanish Fork.
Down to the team's last out, Martinez, who reached base on a pop fly that fell between West Ridge infielders, was standing at third base with a crazy idea going through his mind.
"I told myself 'alright I'm going to steal home,'" said Martinez.
As the West Ridge pitcher prepared to throw a pitch, Martinez bolted down the lane, sliding just under the catcher's tag attempt to score the third run of the game.
Martinez leaped into the arms of teammates waiting in the dugout and Jaramillo could only smile at what unfolded before his eyes.
"He (Martinez) all gave us a good scare with that play," Jaramillo jokingly said after the game. "We wanted to have a little fun here at the state tournament and we certainly did today."
The end to the season capped a two-day stretch which saw the Panthers travel to Richfield on Monday for a game with Green River. The Panthers pulled out a 13-9 win in a play-in game to advance to the 1A quarterfinals.
The team didn't have much time to rest as they got home late Monday night before having to get up early and travel to Spanish Fork for a game on Tuesday morning that started at 10 a.m.
While the over 300 miles of travel over a two-day stretch may have drained some of the energy of the players, not everyone was complaining.
"I love playing games on back-to-back days," said senior Rowdy Houskeeper. "We just wanted to have fun and leave everything out there on the field."
In their first season together as a team, the Panthers grew closer as the season progressed.
"We all grew close as a team over the season," said Mediano, a junior. "We all had a lot of fun."
While the season did not end on a winning note, senior Chris Smith said there were plenty of moments to look back on and remember for years to come.
"Those first two games against Dugway, with everyone in the stands watching us play for the first time and being able to get the sweep was awesome," Smith said. "It feels absolutely amazing to see how far we made it this season."
The Panthers finished with a 7-6 record in the regular season and an 8-7 record overall after the playoffs.
Jaramillo said he was proud of the effort of the team in their first season playing together. He feels this team has set the foundation for the PCA baseball program going forward.
"It was a fun experience for all of us. The players all believed in each other and did well this season. We all feel that we can have a great baseball program at Pinnacle," Jaramillo said.