Brighton baseball update
With only three wins in 15 games, Brighton High’s baseball team seems like a longshot to make the playoffs. Then again, a lot of things can change in three weeks.
First-year Bengals coach Jonnie Knoble is hoping his team catches a spark with three-game region series remaining against Cottonwood, Alta and Jordan. Brighton would likely have to win at least six or seven of those nine games to have a chance, while sweeps would be even better.
“As much as we’d like to be in better position, just a few more wins and we’re right back where we want to be,” Knoble said. “When we all play together, we can beat anybody. That’s what they’re starting to learn. A couple of wins and the confidence level goes up. You get hot at the right time and you could go a long way. This is a team that doesn’t know how good it could be.”
While the Bengals (1-5 Region 3, 3-12 overall), hold impressive victories over Northridge (24-7), American Fork (10-3) and West Jordan (8-1), they have also had their struggles. Brighton has had separate losing streaks of three, four and five games. Copper Hills swept the Bengals to open region play and West Jordan took the first two games before Brighton won the third and final game.
Copper Hills and West Jordan also posted four consecutive shutouts over Brighton.
“We need to learn how to continue momentum,” Knoble said. “When we win, you take it in stride, and when we lose, you don’t let it get to you.”
A bright spot has been the performance of pitcher Taylor Prokopis. Starting against top-ranked American Fork, Prokopis allowed three runs in the first inning but nothing the rest of the way in a complete-game effort. Alex Miles and Logan McGregor tripled and T.J. Orchard doubled for Brighton.
Prokopis kept it rolling against West Jordan, tossing a complete-game one-hitter. Garrett Eichers went 4-for-4 with a double and triple and Orchard doubled.
“The best thing he does is compete,” Knoble said of Prokopis, who is also Brighton’s backup catcher. “His tools are good, but he doesn’t have overwhelming stuff. He’s using two or three pitches. If he can pitch like he’s doing, he’ll solidify a spot in the rotation.”
The Bengals took care of Northridge early, leading 9-2 after two innings and scoring 10 runs in the sixth. Eichers, Colby Batt, Joe Miller and Nick Wagner each had two doubles to support the pitching of Ethan Nielsen, who earned the victory on the mound.
Eichers has a triple and four doubles to lead Brighton, while McGregor has a triple and two doubles and Miller and Orchard three doubles apiece.
Opponents have outscored Brighton 89-65 through 15 games.