The Grantsville baseball team hasn’t lost in nearly a month, but that success hasn’t come easy for the Cowboys.
For the second day in a row, Judge Memorial made Grantsville sweat things out. A mere 24 hours after GHS held off the Bulldogs 3-2 in 10 innings, the Cowboys had to survive a seventh-inning rally to beat Judge 9-8 and maintain its spotless Region 13 record.
“The kids are really good at focusing on what we have to accomplish that day, which is why we’ve won two really close games,” Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins said. “We’re not looking ahead – we’re focusing on what we’re doing right now.”
Grantsville (15-2, 8-0 Region 13) led 9-4 going into the top of the seventh, and had senior Coy Johnson, one of the best relief pitchers in Class 3A, on the mound. After allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach base, Johnson settled down, getting Alex Carrillo to fly out and striking out Isiah Moore. But the Bulldogs (8-6, 3-2) still had some fight left in them, as Koji Nagata-Brown ripped a two-run double up the middle to cut the deficit to 9-6. Ronnie Termunde followed with a base hit, Nate Callahan drew a walk and Zach Shubella hit an infield single, with Nagata-Brown scoring on a double steal. Alex Niemann then reached base on a wild pitch on strike three, allowing Termunde to score. Grantsville’s Parker Thomas, the Cowboys’ fifth pitcher of the afternoon, came on to relieve Johnson and got Chris McTeague to ground out to end the game.
“Our pitching’s been outstanding, and that’s been what’s carried us so far,” Perkins said. “I feel like that’s our strength. This Judge team – we’ve got to give them credit. They’re a good team. They battle and fight and they have good at-bats.”
It hadn’t been an easy game for Grantsville, which trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the fourth inning after the Bulldogs had gotten to starting pitcher Justin Richardson and reliever Matt Collier. But a two-out rally by the Cowboys in the bottom of the fourth put them in front 6-4. With Taylor Wood on first base after drawing a walk, Thomas reached on a fielding error and Isaac Riding drove in Wood with an RBI single to right. Keagan Landon then singled to right to drive in Thomas, and Riding scored on a throwing error on a pick-off attempt.
Brody Barney then struck the biggest blow for Grantsville. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth and pinch-runner Maison Silva and Wood on base, Barney ripped a double to the warning track in right center to drive in two more Cowboys runs. It helped his own cause, as he pitched two innings and didn’t allow a run or a hit and was credited with the victory on the mound.
Grantsville scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth after back-to-back two-out doubles by Richardson and Brady Arbon.
Grantsville will look to wrap up the series sweep against Judge on Friday in Salt Lake City. A victory would clinch the Region 13 title for the Cowboys, but they are keeping things in perspective with a month left in the season.
“It’s just baseball,” Barney said. “It doesn’t matter who you play. Every time, (Perkins) says we’re 0-0. The next game is the most important.”