Spartans win one and drop one in first round of tourney
In the 3-A state baseball playoffs, the winners of the four 3-A regions in Utah host three other teams from other regions in order to start the process of elimination in this double elimination tournament. Last week the games were played at region 8 winner Juan Diego, region 9 winner Cedar City, region 10 winner Park City and region 11 winner Grantsville. Emery, the second place team in region 8 along with Judge Memorial the third place team from region 10 and Delta the fifth place team from region 8 was sent to Grantsville.
At Grantsville, Emery faced last season's state champion in the Judge Memorial Bulldogs. Judge returned two of the best pitchers in the state from that team. Emery was shut out 10-0. In game two, Delta surprised the host Cowboys and pulled out a 4-2 victory. The winners of the first two games along with the losers of the two games then faced off and Emery will continue play after an extra inning affair. Emery prevailed 7-6 in nine innings. Judge defeated Delta 11-0 in the quarterfinal game.
In the Grantsville game, Emery scored the first three runs of the game in the top of the first inning. Jason Giles got on base after the Cowboy shortstop booted a well-hit ball. Nevin Jensen followed up with a single up the middle and Addison Collard drew a base on balls to load the bases. Tayler Tanner singled to center driving in the first two Emery runs and Collard scored on a fielder's choice hit by Colby Snow.
Emery held Grantsville hitless and scoreless until the third inning when three Emery errors plus two walks and a single hit, a homerun, allowed Grantsville to take the lead at 4-3. Grantsville added to their lead in the fifth inning when they scored two more runs on a single and another homerun.
After that first inning, Emery's bats went silent again as they went three up, three down in the second inning, the third inning, the fourth inning and the fifth inning. In the sixth inning, Emery managed a single by Collard but that was it. It did not look pretty at this point.
In the top of the seventh inning, with Grantsville still leading 6-3, Emery's first two batters got out as the reality of losing two games and being through with this year's playoffs started to sink in with the fans. The players though were not through.
Brett Mecham managed to get on base as the shortstop misplayed another ball. Make the play and the game was over, but it was not to be. Kash Jewkes followed with a hard hit ball to left field that went over the fielder's head scoring Mecham and leaving Jewkes at second base with a double. Gatlan Huntington then got on base when the Cowboy third baseman misplayed his batted ball.
Jason Giles singled to center picking up an RBI as Jewkes scored. Nevin Jensen singled to load the bases and Emery finally started smelling a victory. Collard then singled up the middle to score Huntington to tie the game. Giles was also sent home on the hit but slipped halfway home, went back to third to find Jensen already there and the inning was over with the tagging of an Emery base runner.
In the bottom of the inning, with Collard on the mound since the last batter of the fifth inning, the Cowboys went down one, two, three and the game went to extra innings. Neither team threatened in the eighth inning.
In the ninth inning, after Mecham got out, Jewkes singled to give Emery a base runner. A sacrifice bunt by Huntington got Jewkes to second base and Jewkes scored on a single to left field by Giles to break the tie. Emery led 7-6.
In the bottom of the inning, Collard got the first batter to fly out to centerfield for out number one. The second batter then ground out third to first for out number two. The game then got too interesting as the next two batters singled to put the tying and winning runs on base. Collard then went to work and struck out the next batter to end the game. With the loss, the host team was out of the play-offs.
Against Judge, Emery batters struck out 10 times in five innings and had no hits while Judge had 11 hits including five doubles and a three run homerun.
Emery now will play in Spanish Fork this Thursday as the tournament resumes. Emery will face Park City at 11 a.m. on field one. Emery will continue play as long as they continue winning. The champion will be crowned Saturday at the UVU baseball park.