Bingham Baseball Climbs to the QuarterfinalsJul 13, 2016 08:23AM ● By Tori La Rue
Bingham High’s varsity baseball team made it to the quarterfinals even after it got off to a slow start. – Tori La Rue
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
Bingham High School’s varsity baseball team had a rough start, losing about as many games as it won during the first half of the season, but it started to pull it together as the season continued, making it to the state quarterfinals.
“I don’t exactly know what made the difference, but if I could pin it, then I could do that every year,” head coach Joe Sato said. “They seemed to be playing better in the game as far as not making swing errors and pitching better, and doing the things to help you win.”
Outfielder Tanner Burr said he saw the team improve after its losses against Cottonwood in mid-April. The team lost 4–1 on April 12, 9–5 on April 13 and 6–5 on April 15.
“We got swept and knew we needed to step it up,” Tanner said.
At that point in the season, the team calmed down instead of letting the game get out of control, Sean Keating, first baseman and pitcher, said. The players started working together and racked up enough wins to send them to the playoffs.
“All 42 of them were pulling at the same rope, so they were doing a good job,” Sato said. “That’s why they are doing better – because all 42 guys seemed to be on board.”
Bingham knocked Fremont out of the championships with a 5-0 victory during its first playoff game on May 17. Keating scored a home run during the game, which took place on his 18th birthday. Keating said he thought the game showed that the team had the skill to make it to the championship game.
Bingham won the state championships during Keating’s freshman year, which he said was an “unreal” feeling. The seniors on the team were hoping to win another championship, so they’d have bookend championship victories surrounding their years with Bingham baseball, Keating said.
Davis scored the first run against Bingham during the second inning in the second round of the playoffs, but Bingham came back with two runs in the third inning. The game ended with a 2-1 victory for Bingham, leading Bingham to the quarterfinals against Lone Peak.
“It was like exciting to get there,” Burr said. “Everyone was upbeat and happy to be there and ready to work hard and do whatever we could to win.”
Lone Peak scored one run in each of the first three innings and one more in the fifth inning, but Bingham claimed one in the fourth and one in the fifth and tied the game up in the sixth inning with two runs. During the final inning Lone Peak came back with six runs, wiping the Miners from the championship candidate-pool.
“It was disappointing,” Burr said. “We could have done a few things better, but we just tried to feel good about those games and get over the mistakes and look ahead.”
Many of the players were seniors; four of them have signed with colleges. Keating said he received offers from about 15 schools, but he chose to attend Arizona State University.
“I’ve been to the school twice, and it has a good winning tradition,” he said. “It just feels right.
Colin Gordon, Bingham’s shortstop, signed with the College of Southern Idaho, and Harley Yazzie, pitcher, and Kash Westerkamp, catcher, signed with South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona.
Other team members have different plans to pursue, and for some those plans don’t include baseball.
Burr, who was a senior on the team, said he considered his last year on Bingham’s team as his “last hoorah” with baseball. The 18-year-old who’s been playing the sport since childhood said he’s planning to spend his post-graduation time working and filling out his missionary papers to leave on a two-year volunteer mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.