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Emery baseball third in state tourney

Emery High Spartan Baseball finishes the season at the state tourney in third place. Back row: Coaches Dave Hreinson, Dean Stilson, Geren Payne, Tappan Draper, Jordan Cox, Dillon Wilstead, Tyson Roper, Carson Healy, Curtis Mason­­, Coach Steven Gordon; first row: Dominic Rondinelli, Brandon Oliver, Hunter Huntington, Kaden Feichko, McCoy Allred, Colten Collard, Ridge Nielson and Marco Mota.

By Gary Arrington
Sports writer

The 2012 high school 2A baseball season came to a close for the Emery Spartan team last weekend in St George with the Spartans finishing the season with a third place finish at the 2-A Utah State Baseball Championships held at Dixie State College. Gunnison Valley, the favorite going into the tournament, won the state title by defeating Richfield in the title game.

Emery, Millard, Gunnison and San Juan traveled to St George with undefeated records in hopes of returning home with the trophy. Emery defeated Millard 6-2 to send the Eagles into the losers bracket and Gunnison defeated San Juan. Emery then faced Gunnison as the last two undefeated teams remaining in the tournament and the Bulldogs defeated Emery 2-0. Richfield, which lost their opening game the week before, started in the losers bracket and made the long trip to the title game.

Gunnison finished first with a 24-2 season record, losing only to a pair of 3-A teams early in the season. Richfield, after that opening loss to Beaver, had to win six straight games to make it to the title game. Emery finished third by losing first to Gunnison and then the Spartans lost to Richfield 9-5 to end the Spartan season.

Against Richfield, Emery lost a heartbreaker in eight innings as the Wildcats scored four times in that last inning. Richfield scored once in the first inning off starting pitcher Hunter Huntington. Emery evened the score in the bottom of the inning. Ridge Nielson got on base as he led off for Emery and Nielson scored on a Tappan Draper single.

Emery scored twice more in the second inning. Brandon Oliver got on base due to another Richfield error and Dillon Wilstead walked. Both scored as Nielson once again got on base due to an error by the Richfield right fielder.

After Richfield scored their second run in the top of the third inning, Emery came back to score twice more in the bottom of the inning. Dominic Rondinelli walked, Geren Payne walked and Kaden Feichko bunted his way on to load the bases. Oliver and Wilstead each then walked to score a pair of runs for Emery. Emery led 5-2.

Richfield added a run in the fourth inning and two more runs in the fifth inning to tie the score at 5-5. A pair of Emery errors led to at least the second score that tied up the game. Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh innings to send the game into overtime where Richfield won it.

Emery finished the game with eight base hits while the Wildcats had 15. Nielson, Draper and Feichko each had a pair of hits in the game.

Against Gunnison, Emery outhit the Bulldogs five to four but the Spartans could not score a run in picking up the loss. Gunnison scored both of their runs in the second inning. A walk, a hit batter, a bunt single and a single scored the two runs. In no other inning did more than one Gunnison batter make it on base as Emery pitcher Geren Payne did a good job of keeping the Bulldogs off stride all game long.

Unfortunately for Emery, the Spartans never got a runner to third base in the game. Draper again had a pair of singles to pace the Spartan offensive effort. Other singles were hit by Payne, Colten Collard and Jordan Cox. Nielson got a walk and Collard got hit by a pitch to become the only other Emery base runners.

In the first game in St George, Emery and Millard played six scoreless innings before each team scored twice in the seventh inning. Emery, the visiting team for this game, scored twice on a Ridge Nielson single. Kaden Feichko and Colten Collard had each singled to get on base to score on Ridge's hit to left field. Millard scored twice as they had a walk and three straight singles. Both teams then went scoreless in the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth inning, Oliver got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. McCoy Allred then got on base after the first baseman made an error. With two on and two out, Draper walked to load the bases. Rondinelli walked to score a run followed by a Geren Payne single that scored two more runs. Feichko then singled to score the final Spartan run. Oliver pitched nine innings in this tournament win.

In the bottom of the inning, Millard got two runners on base but Emery never allowed a run and came away with the win.

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