The Grantsville baseball team has had an up-and-down start to its 2019 season. Sometimes, the Cowboys have looked good; at others, they’ve shown that there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Thursday’s game against Park City fell under the latter category. Grantsville committed six errors in the field, leading to three unearned runs, and struck out 13 times in a 12-3 loss to the Miners in a non-region game in Grantsville.
“We didn’t play very well today,” Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins said. “At the end of the day, you can’t make errors against a good team. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t help our pitcher out a little more. We just didn’t play well defensively.”
The Cowboys (5-5) put themselves in an early hole and never recovered. Park City took advantage of two Grantsville errors in the first inning to build a 4-0 lead, and another pair of errors helped the Miners stretch their advantage to 8-1 in the second. GHS starting pitcher Ethan Merrill settled down after a rough start, giving up just two more runs over the next 2 2/3 innings, but the damage was already done.
Merrill allowed 10 total runs, seven of which were earned, in 4 2/3 innings and was credited with the loss. He struck out two batters and walked six, with three of those coming in the first two innings.
“I actually think Ethan threw the ball well today,” Perkins said. “He did exactly what we asked him to do — throw strikes and get balls in play. We just didn’t field them for him today. I thought he handled himself very well on the mound. I didn’t see him get frustrated.”
Meanwhile, Grantsville struggled to get its own bats going against Miners starter Ryan Jeffrey. A one-out single by Chace Gipson, followed by an RBI single up the middle by Jackson Sandberg three batters later, got the Cowboys on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Wood singled and scored on a groundout by Parker Thomas in the second, and Josh Staley doubled and scored on Justin Ross’ RBI single in the third. But after Ross was caught stealing to end the third inning, the Cowboys didn’t have another baserunner the rest of the game as Jeffrey and reliever Evan Pointer dominated on the mound for Park City, and the Miners did a good job fielding when Grantsville was able to make contact.
“We haven’t hit a lot of balls hard lately, and we actually hit some balls hard today,” Perkins said.
Jeffrey allowed three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in five innings. Pointer pitched two perfect innings, striking out four — including all three batters he faced in the seventh.
While Perkins would have liked to see his team play better in Thursday’s contest, he wasn’t overly concerned following the tough outing.
“Right now, we’re playing good defensively one game and not hitting, and then we’ll hit good and not play defensively,” Perkins said. “We’ve just got to figure out a way to put it all together. I have a lot of confidence in these kids. We’re going to go through some growing pains. but we’re going to get better. We’re going to bounce back from this.”
Grantsville defeated West 5-3 on Friday before losing a 5-4 decision to Highland on Monday. Both games were played in Salt Lake City. The Cowboys will play host to Hunter on Wednesday, with a road game in Orem against Mountain View scheduled for Thursday.