Jordan Cox slides into home where he is safe.
After winning their first two games of the 2012 2-A Utah State baseball championships at home last Saturday, the Emery High Spartan team is one of four undefeated teams remaining in the tournament and will continue play this Thursday at Dixie State with an 11 a.m. game against Millard.
Last Saturday, Emery opened the championship tournament by defeating Kanab 8-4 and then the Spartans defeated ALA Saturday afternoon 14-3. The Spartans joined Millard, San Juan and Gunnison as the remaining undefeated teams left in the tournament.
Last Saturday, 16 teams started state play-off action. The above four teams are undefeated and four other teams, North Summit, South Summit, Parowan and Rowland Hall, were eliminated with two losses.
Eight other teams have one loss and will continue play this week in the losers bracket with another loss eliminating each team and the winner advancing on towards championship play. Those eight teams are South Sevier, Grand, Beaver, Kanab, ALA, Richfield, Manti and Enterprise. All five region 15 teams are still in play including our Emery Spartan team.
In the opening game, Emery gave up three runs in the first inning against Kanab. Two singles, a hit batter and a double off starting pitcher Brandon Oliver put Kanab up 3-0. Emery countered with a single run in the bottom of the first inning. Tappan Draper doubled and scored on a single by Geren Payne.
Emery and Kanab then battled into the fourth inning before either team could mount a challenge. In the bottom of the fourth inning and still down by two runs, Emery batter Brandon Oliver led off the inning with a single on a 2-0 pitch. Colton Collard got on base due to a Kanab catcher's error and Hunter Huntington walked to load the bases.
A wild pitch scored Oliver and advanced the other two runners. Leadoff batter Ridge Nielson then singled and scored both runners and Emery had their first lead of the day. Draper also singled in the inning but no other Emery runner would score.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Emery added four more runs to now lead in the game 8-3. Payne led off the inning and groundout to the third baseman. Kaden Feichko singled and then Oliver got out for the second out of the inning. Collard then walked and Curtis Mason then doubled to score two runs for the Spartans. Huntington then got on base due to an error and Mason scored. Nielson then singled and scored Huntington after Huntington had advanced around the base path on pitcher mistakes.
Kanab scored a single run in the top of the seventh inning and Emery had the victory. Oliver, after giving up three base hits in the first inning, gave up only two more hits through the rest of the game and got the victory.
In the second game of the day, Emery faced ALA who had earlier defeated South Summit 7-4. Emery pitcher Geren Payne got the first three ALA batters out to start the game.
Emery, batting in the bottom of the first inning, scored two runs to take the first lead of the game. Draper singled, Dominic Rondinelli doubled to left centerfield scoring Draper. After Payne singled, Feichko walked and then Collard walked scoring Rondinelli. Emery left the bases loaded as the inning ended.
ALA scored two runs in the top of the second inning to tie the score at 2-2 as Payne hit a batter and then gave up a homerun. In the bottom of the inning, Emery regained the lead. With two out for Emery, Nielson got hit by a pitch and then Draper doubled to score Nielson and Emery now led 3-2.
In the third inning, Emery rally came alive at the plate and scored eight runs in the inning to blow the game wide open. Payne led off the inning with a single and then Feichko, Collard and Jordan Cox all singled with Cox picking up a pair of RBI's. McKoy Allred then had a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Collard.
Huntington then singled scoring Cox. Emery's top of the lineup then came up and Nielson walked, Draper singled to score a run, Rondinelli doubled scoring another run and Payne then had his second hit of the inning and scored another Emery runner.
Emery scored three more times in the bottom of the fourth inning in what turned out to be Emery's last at bat as the Spartans ended the game on the 10 run rule after ALA batted in the fifth inning.
In the fourth inning, Collard led off with single and Cox doubled scoring Collard. After the next two Emery batters got out, Nielson singled, Draper walked and Rondinelli singled scoring another run.
Emery finished the game with 16 base hits after having nine base hits in the first game of the day. Payne won the pitching victory as he gave up three base hits in the game. Payne struck out eight ALA batter including the side in that final inning.
Millard, Emery's Thursday opponent, won region 13 and defeated Grand in the first game 11-2 and then defeated Manti 14-13. Emery's next game will be Friday.