SPANISH FORK – Hype isn’t handed out on silver platters. Hype is earned through respect. Respect is generated unceremoniously through success. Success typically requires an endurance of building a foundation from nothing, but not always.
That exception is bestowed upon Salem Hills and Maple Mountain, two programs that are collectively 9 years old. The two may be the new kids on the block, but in the same regard, they are the quintessential mold of the classic Jim Croce song: “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit in the wind; you don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim.”
You guessed it. Those new kids? They go by Jim.
The Skyhawks – yes, sadly, Salem Hills didn’t fall into the spell of using Witches for its nickname – didn’t wait for success on the diamond. Since its first season in 2009, Salem Hills is 89-40 and 44-13 in region play.
The Golden Eagles, and coincidental to Salem, Maple Mountain avoided the temptations of using the Mountaineers nickname, are 36-10 and 20-2 in region the past two seasons after starting competition in 2010.
This season, Salem Hills is 17-2 and 8-0 in Region 8 and Maple Mountain is 12-4 and 8-0 in that very same region.
Yet, both schools remain relatively unfamiliar to anyone north of Boondocks.
That certainly needs addressing before the first matchup of a two-game series that begins today at 3:30 p.m. at Maple Mountain.
Here are a few bulletin points to prepare for today’s showdown of the top two teams in 4A:
- Obviously, both schools are fascinated by orology, which explains the Hills and Mountains. Conversely, birds of prey happen to be of substantial interest, too.
- Both schools are members of the Nebo School District.
- Maple Mountain’s school colors are maroon, gold and green, whereas Salem Hills sports light blue, navy blue and of course gold, too.
- Salem Hills owns a 6-1 advantage in the head-to-head series, outscoring the Eagles 73-20 in those meetings.
- And both schools have an ace who is expected to start this afternoon: Salem Hills’ Colton Hill is 7-0 and Maple Mountain’s MaKay Nelson is 6-0.
This has all the ingredients of a dandy considering in 2012 the two split, 1-1, each scoring 11 runs over the course of the two games. Oh, and continuing the similarities – both enter today’s game riding an eight-game win streak.