The Grantsville baseball team blew out American Leadership Academy 8-0 in its Class 3A state tournament opener Saturday, then held on to beat South Sevier 2-1 to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal round at Kearns High School.
The Cowboys’ reward? A matchup more befitting of a state championship than a mere quarterfinal, as they will meet Region 14 champion Carbon in a game that was not complete at press time Thursday afternoon. The winner gets the winner of the other quarterfinal between Region 15 champion Richfield and Region 15 No. 4 Manti in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., with the winner guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s state championship round.
Grantsville (22-3) came into Thursday’s quarterfinal with slightly more impressive statistics on paper; however, Carbon (18-7) was coming off a thrilling 4-3 win over preseason state title favorite Grand in the second round last weekend and has beaten its fair share of tough opposition along the way. Grantsville has a team batting average of .353, an on-base percentage of .464 and an on-base-plus-slugging-percentage (OPS) of .978 to go with 61 stolen bases. Carbon hits .312 with a .411 OBP and .865 OPS and 67 stolen bases.
The difference between the Cowboys and Dinos on the quarterfinal stage may come down to pitching, where GHS has a team earned-run average of 1.83 and CHS’ team ERA is 3.00.
The loser of Thursday’s game will remain alive in its quest for a state championship, though the road will be considerably more difficult, needing to win five games in a two-day stretch to pull it off, beginning with an elimination game Friday at 11 a.m. against Summit Academy, American Leadership Academy, Union or Emery.
The state championship game is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Kearns High School. If the team that comes back through the loser’s bracket wins the 12:30 p.m. contest, a second game will be played immediately after the conclusion of the first.