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Grizzlies rally for third in 4A baseball

If Skyline High School baseball coach Brett Taylor could, he would re-do his senior year of high school.

Taylor said he watched his classmates place third in the state tournament 20 years ago — forgoing his chance at a state tournament run with the Grizzlies’ baseball team for football.

Well, life can be ironic.

Twenty years (and a few gray hairs) later, Taylor coached Skyline to its best finish since he decided to give up the glove for a helmet.

Skyline finished third in the 4A baseball state tournament Saturday, defeating Skyview 8-7 behind Cruz Taylor’s three RBIs and Austin Charboneau’s four innings of relief.

“Hopefully it’s not another 20 years before we come back,” Taylor said.

Charboneau led both teams in strikeouts with four, as the Grizzlies overcame a 6-0 deficit in the first two innings.

Taylor commended Charboneau’s performance, claiming he was originally going to start Carson Lott, but Lott’s arm was “too tight,” Taylor said.

Taylor added he’s trying to get Charboneau to become a “long-haul guy” for the Grizzlies in the future.

“He did great,” Taylor said. “He had ample time to go warm up … coming out of the bullpen, throwing strikes and hitting spots and mixing speeds.”

After cutting Skyview’s lead with a five-run third inning, Skyline outscored the Hawks 3-0 in its final two frames to seal the win.

Taylor, who is Cruz’s uncle and father of the Skyline’s Easton and Bridger, said the Grizzlies were unfazed by Skyview’s early lead. It had been down before, leaning on its youth to stay competitive this season.

“Well, we started off real sluggish,” Taylor said. “I know some of them stayed up later than they should’ve … all it took was we get a guy on and get a bunt and our small ball game started to pick up … and then the kids got into it.”

In totality, the Grizzlies finished 17-14 which included a mid-season stretch where they won six straight.

Taylor said the difference between this year’s Grizzlies and previous: younger players stepping up.

“The guys understood they had roles to fill and they owned it as they went,” Taylor said.

Individually, 2017 saw the emergence of a variety of players filling roles for Taylor’s coaching staff.

Taylor said his seniors, Bridger and Lott, balanced each other well: Bridger being the emotional anchor and Lott being the “quiet leader.” Ian Whyte was the equilibrium between the two, Taylor said.

Junior pitcher Mason Jacobsen’s 45⅓ innings pitched and 41 Ks led all Grizzlies pitchers, according to MaxPreps.

Easton, the right-handed outfielder, batted a .376 and led Skyline with 32 hits. His 25 RBIs only trailed his older brother, who had 31.

“They bought in,” Taylor said of how his team made it to the 4A state tournament in over two decades. “And that helped.”

SKYLINE 8, SKYVIEW 7

Skyview 150 100 0 — 7 9 1

Skyline 005 012 x — 8 9 1

SKYVIEW — Pitchers: Wade Carpenter 2.2IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K; Hibbard 3IP, 5H, 5R, 4ER, 1BB, 1K; No. 7 0.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K. Leading hitters: Hayden Treinen 0-2, 2BB, 2R; Bernal 3-3, 2R, RBI; Cody Balle 2-4, R, HR, 3RBIs; Haris Villanueva 2-4, 2RBIs.

SKYLINE — Pitchers: Garrison Motes 1.2IP, 0H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 0K; Easton Taylor 1.1IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 1BB, 0K; Austin Charboneau (W) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K. Leading hitters: Adryan Lopez 0-0, 2R; Nick Layland 2-3; Bridger Taylor 2-3, RBI; Carson Lott 2-3, R, RBI; Easton Taylor 0-4, R, RBI; Cruz Taylor 2-2, 2B, 2R, 3RBIs; David Ames III 1-3, 2R.

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