Wilstead's big game comes at big time
Dillon Wilstead knew he wasn't having the best week at the plate heading into the second game of the Utah State American Legion Championship.
While helping to add to Helper's strong pitching performance throughout the tournament, Wilstead felt he wasn't adding enough at the plate for the team.
"I didn't really swing the bat well all tournament long," said Wilstead.
But something was different on Friday evening. And it came at the right time, on the big stage.
Wilstead collected two run scoring hits and finished with a team-high four RBIs in helping push Helper to a 9-0 win over St. George for the team's second straight Utah State Championship.
Wilstead hit a two-run single in the top of the fourth inning that helped start a five-run outburst in the inning that landed Helper with a 4-0 lead. Just one inning later, Wilstead again came through in the clutch with another two-run single on a pop up that landed in the perfect spot along the right field corner between St. George's first base and right field defenders.
Wilstead said he felt more comfortable at the plate as Helper's entire team came into the game with a deeper focus and a determination that was seen, and heard, on the field all game long.
"I was seeing the ball really well all day long," said Wilstead. "St. George hit us in the teeth the day before so we wanted to do that to them by scoring early and often. And we did."
No stranger to success thanks to back-to-back state championships as a player on the Emery High Baseball team, Wilstead said that experience of playing in big games with Emery High helped him get focused just when Helper needed it the most.
"As a team, we toughed it out over the final week and we came through. It was madness all week long," he said.
In his final at-bat in the championship game, Wilstead fouled a ball off his foot. He took a few moments to try and walk it off, but a foul-tip that squirted away from the catcher had Wilstead thinking he needed to run down the line to first base. The home plate umpire quickly called it a foul ball requiring Wilstead to walk back down the first base line to step in the box for another pitch.
While he didn't reach base in the at-bat, Wilstead didn't mind.
When the final out was made, Helper players including Wilstead stormed the mound for the dog pile in celebration of the state championship. Despite whatever pain he felt in the foot, Wilstead said after the game that winning plays a soothing role when it comes to injuries.
"My foot feels a lot better now," he said with a smile as teammates celebrated in the background with their new trophy.