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Draper Journal

APA-Draper baseball team finishes in final four

Nov 01, 2022 07:37PM ● By Catherine Garrett

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

The American Preparatory Academy-Draper baseball team began the season with seven straight losses and turned things around to make the 2A state semifinal round before losing to Maeser Prep 3-2 at Salt Lake Community College Sept. 30.

“I was super happy with the team finishing in the final four,” said head coach Wayland McGary. “We started the season with a bunch of adversity and battled back through the season.”

In the first round of the state tournament, the fourth-seeded Eagles squad faced Utah Military Academy-Hill Field Sept. 27 and dominated in a 12-1 win.

In the semis, APA-Draper got on the board early in the first inning and held a 2-0 lead until the top of the third when Maeser Prep scored, and then they added two more runs in the fifth for the deciding score.

“It was really nice to work through the entire season and work back to a winning record,” said McGary. “The boys never quit, they never gave up. They battled all season long to accomplish our goal of making it to state.”

After a 1-8 showing through the first nine games this season, the Eagles defeated Utah Military Academy-Camp Williams 22-4 and 14-3 Sept. 9 to turn the corner. They later rode a five-game winning streak—outscoring opponents 77 to 17—heading into the postseason.

“We felt really confident in our ability to play as a team,” McGary said. “At the beginning of the season, I told the boys that there weren’t any superstars on the team and to succeed they would have to play as a team rather than individual units. They did just that.”

In the last regular season game of the season against Utah Military Academy-Hill Field Sept. 23, senior left-handed pitcher Capone Cordova, who throws in the low 80s, threw a no-hitter.

“Capone pitched phenomenal this year, and he’s our top defensive player in the outfield as well,” McGary said, of his ace who recorded a 5.91 ERA on the year.

Sophomore Ziek VanDijk, who drove in 13 runs this year—including the team’s lone home run—while hitting .514, along with sophomore Hyrum Farmer, who batted .500, were noted by McGary for their “awesome” offensive contributions for the squad.

The Eagles had nine players among the top players statewide in batting average.

Defensively, freshman catcher Kason Krafts allowed just five stolen bases. “He jumped right in and did whatever was asked of him,” McGary said.

Also on the APA-Draper squad who finished 10-9 this season were Hayden Caldwell, Braedan Dye, Carter Johnson, Keegan Lowe, Sebastian Malmborg, Grant Maxfield, Finnegan McVicar, Nick Nunes, Carter Reid and Tristen Roark.

McGary was assisted on the coaching staff by Layne Sims and Kona Plun