Broncos close baseball regular season, prepare for state tournament
by Rhett Sifford
The San Juan High School baseball team closed out their regular season this past Friday, April 29 with a tough 9-6 loss to American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork, UT.
Until the setback, the Broncos were riding a four-game winning streak and had won five of their last six. They were 15-7, ranked #3 in the 2A RPI standings heading into the game with the Eagles.
American Leadership is one of the stronger teams in 3A baseball and were 14-8 coming into the contest against San Juan.
The Broncos showed strong character in the loss, as they have all season. Trailing 5-1 in the early innings and 9-3 midway through, they rallied to stay in the hunt and scored three runs in the sixth inning to make it interesting.
But the late rally stalled in the top of the seventh and the Broncos’ regular season came to a close with 15 wins and eight losses.
Regardless of what happens in the upcoming state tournament it’s an accomplishment and the team has made some strong strides in 2022. They’ll finish the season above .500 which they haven’t done since 2017.
The RPI standings have been taken offline until the 2A state tournament bracket reveal, set for this Thursday, May 5.
Most likely San Juan will open the tourney this Saturday, May 7 at home. Rounds one and two are played in a “pod” format, which features a group of four teams in two brackets.
Winners of the first two games of the tournament advance to the state quarterfinals, to be played at Kearns High School next Thursday, May 12.
It’s a true double-elimination tournament, so teams with one loss are still in contention to win the state championship – it would just be a bit more challenging. Teams that lose in the first round would have to win eight straight to take the title.
Bronco Head Coach Jens Nielson is excited about his team’s chances. “We are a good team that has the potential to do some damage,” he said. “The boys have played a tough schedule, fought hard, learned from losses, and gotten better. I feel good where we are.”
Nielson knows the state tournament is going to be tough, but says the Broncos are contenders. “We feel confident as a team. [The players] don’t care who is on the field, a freshman or senior, they are confident in their teammates and will trust the decisions the coaches make,” he explained.
The 2022 2A Utah State Baseball Champion will be crowned on Saturday, May 14. Stay tuned to the San Juan Record for complete coverage of the Broncos’ title bid.