Fourth-place region finish gets Brighton baseball back to postseason
Jun 10, 2019 10:23AM
● By Josh McFadden
Junior Alex Clifford rockets a homer against Alta on April 19. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Just like last year, the Brighton Bengals secured the final spot in the Class 5A tournament.
Brighton followed up last season’s fourth-place finish in Region 7 with the same spot in the league. This season’s version went 6-9 in league play, doing just enough to reach the playoffs. Brighton finished just one game ahead of fifth-place Alta, which missed the postseason.
It was an up-and-down campaign for the Bengals, which started out region action with two wins and six defeats in their first eight games. Brighton then picked up four straight wins, including a close 2-1 victory over Corner Canyon and a narrow 2-1 triumph over Timpview. Before and after the narrow win over Timpview, the Bengals blasted the Thunderbirds with 15-3 and 14-0 conquests. The bats were hot in the two blowouts over Timpview, as the Bengals accumulated 15 hits and 17 hits, respectively. Alex Clifford smacked a home run in the 15-3 win, and three players registered doubles in the shutout. Clifford hit three home runs during the regular season.
Things got a little nerve-racking down the stretch, however, as Brighton came up on the wrong end of all three games in the series against Cottonwood. Still, even with the trio of defeats, the Bengals got back into the state tournament.
Pitching has been effective for Brighton, especially from senior Alex Hansen, who went 6-1. Sophomore Brennan Potter and junior Grey Slighting each posted two victories on the mound.
In repeat fashion from last year’s playoffs, the Bengals opened the 2019 postseason with a loss to a region champion but stayed alive in the double-elimination tournament with a victory. Roy, No. 1 seed from Region 5, used a strong start to defeat the Bengals in round one on May 13 by the score of 10-1. Roy scored five runs in the first inning and added four more in the fourth. Brighton managed six hits, including a double from Thomas Powley.
With the season in the balance and the threat of an early offseason, Brighton extended its postseason run by blanking Murray 4-0. In the Bengals’ fourth shutout of the year, the team outhit the Spartans 7-6 and scored all four of its runs in the fifth inning. Powley and Parker Hagen both had doubles in the victory. Hansen was credited with the win on the mound.
On May 17, Brighton squared off in the one-loss bracket with region foe Corner Canyon, which defeated the Bengals in two of the teams’ three meetings. The playoff battle continued that trend with the Chargers edging out the Bengals with a 4-3 victory in extra innings.
Winning at state for the second consecutive season was quite a feat for a team that had missed the playoffs for three years in a row. The last time Brighton won two games in the playoffs was back in 2011.