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Sports Writer

Emery baseball repeats winning the 2A state championship

"Holy crap, we did it!" Were the first words out of the mouth of Coach Steven Gordon after centerfielder Gavin McDermott caught the final out of the championship baseball game last Tuesday that earned Emery its second straight 2-A baseball title.

"We were focused on winning and it paid off, I am so proud of these guys," Gordon continued as he and the team celebrated all over the Utah Valley University infield after the third victory of the day. "We had a goal and the guys did it, we have sore arms, we rotated a lot of guys on the mound and they all stepped up and helped us win. I am proud of them."

Emery defeated Beaver 13 to 6 to return to the championship game in the first game of the day. Emery then faced undefeated Grand County, knowing that the Spartans would have to win two straight to claim the title they had worked so hard to keep. In the first Grand game, Emery scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to grab the lead only to see Grand tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after an Emery error kept Grand batting. Emery then scored once in the sixth to have a little breathing room but then added eight runs in the top of the seventh to take a close win and make it a blow out as Emery won 12-3.

In the championship game, both teams came out swinging and made the game an offensive game but in the end it was the Spartans on top by the score of 16 to 9 and Emery won its second straight title. With five starters back for next season, I'm sure the talk has already begun about three peat.

Emery hit the ball all day long and they hit the ball hard. Emery had 103 official at bats in the three games and the Spartans pounded the opposing pitchers for 49 base hits. That is a team batting average of .476, unbelievable that a team could hit this well for three straight games. Emery had 17 hits in the first game, went down to 12 in game two and then finished off the day with 20 in the final game of the season.

Ethan Tuttle and Tanner Lake batted .636 for the day as they both went 7 for 11. Drexler Tanner was 6 for 10, a .600 batting average. If you are not familiar with Emery's lineup, those three individuals bat sixth, ninth and seventh in the batting order as Emery truly is a complete team and any of the batters can hurt you. Emery had only nine strikeouts in the three games as the hitters know how to make contact.

The other batting averages were Tyson Roper at .545, Gavin McDermott at .500, Ridge Nielson at .461, Marco Tanner at .364, Brayden Burke at .308 and Dillon Wilstead at .231. Wilstead bats second in the lineup and hit the ball hard throughout the tournament but on this day defenders were in the right place.

In the Beaver game, the bottom four batters in Emery's lineup, Tuttle, Tanner, Mota and Lake, scored nine of the 13 runs in the game. In the first Grand game, Emery's top four batters in the lineup, Nielson, Wilstead, Roper and McDermott, scored eight of the 12 runs scored by the Spartans. In the final game of the day, the bottom four again led the way by scoring 10 of the 16 runs. Burke who is the middle guy in the lineup as he bats fifth didn't get to participate in my example but he did score three runs that final day.

Out of the 49 base hits, 13 of them went for extra bases. Tuttle had four of those hits with two being homeruns and two being doubles. Tanner had three, with two being doubles and one being a triple. Drexler, who is always replaced with a pinch runner, ran for once.

After he hit the ball he was definitely in unfamiliar territory when he got to third on his last hit and gracefully tripped over the base.

That triple came when Emery was trailing Grand in the fourth inning of the final game. It was hit to straight away centerfield where the fence is 407 feet away. Anywhere else in the park it would have been over the fence for a homerun. He scored on a wild pitch and Emery regained the lead after the inning was over.

Also having extra base hits were Mota with a double and a homerun, Lake with a double, Nielson with a double, Wilstead with a double and McDermott with a homerun. Every extra base hit came at critical times of the games.

Emery's pitching was not perfect on the day as the staff had sore arms from the previous week but they stepped up and did what had to be done. Nielson started the first game and had a rough outing as he lasted eight batters, giving up four hits and four runs. Nielson had pitched Emery to the first victory the previous week. Wilstead who had pitched 10 innings the week before in helping the Spartans win, came on in relief and lasted into the fourth inning before his arm was through for the day. Burke then pitched the rest of the game and the Spartans won. Burke had also won a game the previous week.

In game two, Tyson Roper went the distance for the Spartans in securing the win. Roper had endurance this day and only gave up three runs in the fifth inning to spoil an otherwise good outing.

In the final game of the day, Ethan Tuttle started on the mound for the Spartans. Tuttle was Emery's fifth starter but hadn't pitched in game action for over a month as the other pitchers kept Emery in the win column. So despite his lack of action, Coach Gordon had complete faith in him. Tuttle gave it his all as he lasted on the mound until the fourth inning. In that inning, Tuttle struck out two of the first three batters but then the next four batters got on base and Gordon made the switch.

Ridge Nielson was called upon to pitch with the Red Devils leading 8-7. Nielson got the final out of the inning on a ground ball. Ridge then pitched the fifth and sixth innings and allowed one run and three hits. In the top of the seventh, Nielson told Coach Gordon who was contemplating a pitching change that "he had this." And sure enough he did as he had a pop up, a strike out and that final fly ball to center.

I would be amiss if I did not talk just a little more about Ethan Tuttle and what he does for the team. Tuttle is the starting second baseman for the team unless Wilstead, who starts at third, has a sore arm and then Tuttle moves to third base. Tuttle also moves to left field whenever Roper is pitching. Burke is the other fielder that plays several places. Burke plays shortstop whenever Nielson pitches and third base whenever Wilstead pitches.

"Our guys are beat, but there was no way they weren't going to win. We had a goal and the guys did it. We rotated a lot of guys on the mound today and all of them stepped up, I am so proud of them all," as Gordon started giving his players hugs as the celebration began. It was a good day. Emery batted .571 in that final game, they were not to be denied.

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May 20, 2014
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