Luckily, Silver State took care of that possibility, dispatching Fallon in the first round of the single-elimination bracket to earn its own berth into the title game.
Bullpen woes spelled disaster for Silver State and Spanish Springs poured in 15 runs during a third-inning rally to win the state crown with a 16-6 decision.
Silver State owned a 6-1 advantage through two and half innings and looked poised to make Spanish Springs a 10-run mercy rule victim.
Instead, Mark Ripa broke up a no-hitter by laying down a leadoff bunt single in the bottom of the third. It also unexpectedly opened the floodgates.
“This team hits the ball really well, but we’ve been struggling as of late,” Spanish Springs manager Joe Hoffman said. “We were able to pull it together. We just couldn’t find our bats, and here at the end we were able to find them and do what we’ve been doing throughout the season.”
Spanish Springs loaded the bases following a walk and line drive single to left field by Patric Nelson.
Tyler Eastland, the team’s leadoff batter, had a pitch run inside and bean him to force in a run. A walk to Jacob Galletti also pushed across a run, cutting the deficit down to 6-3.
Silver State recorded its first out, but then the next nine batters reached safely.
Mason Whittaker dropped a single into shallow center field, driving in a run and two wild pitches tied the game at 6-6. Whittaker’s base hit ended Silver State starting pitcher Kobe Bassi’s outing.
Silver State turned to Quincey Love, but his wildness led to his quick exit after one batter. He walked Zac White and Whittaker scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch for a 7-6 lead.
Reliever Colby Preston took over mound duties and was allowed to face four hitters. Alex Van Dyne welcomed him to the game by rocketing a shot to left field for an RBI double.
Colby Durski and Ripa drew back-to-back walks. Van Dyne rushed home when a pitch got away from the catcher.
A third straight walk to Ryan Lujan loaded the bases and forced Silver State to go to its fourth pitcher of the inning.
Noah Hibashi proceeded to walk Nelson with the bases loaded, and then Eastland cleared the sacks by slicing a triple opposite field to left. A wild pitch allowed Eastland to score.
Galletti walked for the second time in the inning and Whittaker drove him in with a grounder back up the middle.
White singled and Whittaker rumbled home from second on a heads-up play during White’s infield single. A controversial call at first became the distraction Whittaker needed.
White made it 16-6 and set up the potential for a 10-run mercy rule shortened game thanks to another wild pitch.
Whittaker also picked up the pitching win by throwing the final two innings of the game. He did not allow a run and finished with five strikeouts.
Spanish Springs earned a trip to the regional tournament in Panguitch, Utah. Check-in day is July 24.
“We wanted some adversity and wanted our kids to be down because we beat teams prior to this by the 10-run rule and seven runs in the other,” Hoffman said. “Going to Utah, we know the teams are going to be very tough. Not to downplay the competition here, but we know regionals is going to be much more difficult for us.”