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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Bengals look to get back on track, get into postseason baseball contention

May 02, 2019 01:27PM ● By Josh McFadden

Junior Alex Clifford rockets a homer against Alta on April 19. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

Last season, the Brighton baseball team shot out of the gates in region play with a 7-2 start, only to struggle down the stretch with six straight league losses. The Bengals hope the opposite occurs this season.

Brighton was a respectable 5-4 heading into Region 7 games. This included a 1-3 showing at the Las Vegas Tournament April 3–6. Once the team opened up its league slate, the Bengals found themselves on the short end of five of their first six games. 

In high school baseball, every team plays each region opponent three times consecutively (except in the event weather requires the teams to make up the games at a later date). Brighton began the region portion of the schedule with a tall order: defending Class 5A champion Jordan. The Bengals lost all three games by nearly identical scores: 8-1, 8-0 and 8-1 on April 12, April 12 and April 13, respectively. 

Brighton struggled to contain Jordan’s offense in all three defeats, as it allowed a total of 43 hits in the contests. Meanwhile, the Bengals had a hard time at the plate against the strong Jordan pitching.

Looking to rebound, Brighton then lost its first game against Alta on April 17 by the score of 5-4. Playing on the road, the Bengals kept the game close but couldn’t quite close the gap. Alex Clifford provided some highlights for his team, including hitting a double. 

The following day, Brighton finally put a stop to the losing streak with a timely 4-3 win over the Hawks.

It took 10 innings to decide the exciting victory. The game was tied at 2-2 after seven innings, thanks to Brighton’s runs in the fifth and sixth innings knotting the score.  No one scored in the eighth or ninth innings, which set the stage for a thrilling 10th inning. Here, Brighton picked up a pair of runs and limited Alta to one when it came up to bat. Brighton had four errors but amassed 13 hits, including a another double from Clifford. 

The two region rivals finished their three-game series on April 19 with a 7-3 victory for the Bengals.

Brighton has plenty of chances to move up the standings and finish in the top four of the six-team league, which is where it needs to be to get back to the state tournament. Despite its late-season losing streak a year ago, the Bengals qualified for state in 2018, dropping both of their games. This season, Brighton wraps things up with Cottonwood May 6, 7 and 8