The Grantsville baseball team found itself in an odd situation Wednesday afternoon — the Cowboys had a 13-0 lead on visiting Granger through three innings, yet the offense had managed just two hits.
While the Cowboys’ bats didn’t have to do much damage, their patience at the plate paid off in a big way. They drew eight walks, were hit six times and scored 11 unearned runs as a product of four Lancers errors as Grantsville defeated Granger 16-6 in six innings. It was another step forward for the defending Class 3A state champions, who are still working on some things as the preseason goes along.
“I think our pitching’s been good this year,” Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins said. “We’re young — we’ve got a lot of young guys on the mound — and I’ve been happy with what they’ve accomplished. Offensively, we’re not there yet, and our team chemistry — we’re working on that.”
Grantsville (4-3) built a 12-0 lead in the first two innings despite not recording a hit as Granger (0-7) struggled to throw strikes and had a few miscues in the field. It wasn’t until the third inning, when Zach Capell and Parker Thomas had back-to-back singles, that the Cowboys recorded their first hits of the contest.
However, Grantsville took its foot off the gas a bit in the fourth and fifth innings, allowing the Lancers to climb back into the game. A pair of Grantsville errors set up Justin Baum’s two-out, two-run single to cut the Cowboys’ lead to 13-2. In the fifth, Caleb Breeze hit a two-run double and Landen Turnbow added a two-run single to make it 13-6.
“I just think that at the end of the day, we lost a little focus,” Perkins said. “It happens. We’re trying to play a lot of kids at the beginning of the year, and sometimes that happens where the momentum switches a little bit.”
While Granger’s rally kept the game from ending via the 10-run mercy rule, it did give the Cowboys a much-needed opportunity to work on execution — something that plagued them in a pair of close losses to Payson and Kearns. In the bottom of the sixth, Grantsville put its starters back in the game, trying to score three runs to end the contest. It worked, as Chace Gipson hit a leadoff infield single, Isaac Riding was hit by a pitch and Josh Staley walked to load the bases. Jackson Sandberg hit a two-run single up the middle to make it 15-6, and after a sacrifice bunt by Ethan Merrill, Sam Daybell drove in the game-winning run with a fly ball to left field that brought Staley home.
“I was extremely happy that after we had a letdown, we came right back and we executed,” Perkins said. “We got a bunt down, we moved runners — those are things that we’ve been working on all year and we finally got it done.”
Daybell pitched four innings for Grantsville, allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Parker Bird allowed four runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in one inning, and Taylor Wood pitched a perfect sixth inning with one strikeout.
Grantsville was scheduled to face Park City in a non-region home game Thursday afternoon.