The 2014 state baseball tournament is already better than the 2013 tournament for Grantsville and Stansbury.
Last year, both teams were out after two games.
This year, Grantsville is in a good position with a pair of victories at home on Saturday over Morgan 7-0 and Carbon 6-1. Stansbury opened with a 4-1 victory over Uintah, but dropped its second game against Pine View 5-2. The Stallions’ first two games were played in Spanish Fork.
With 12 teams still in the chase, the state tournament continues Thursday through Saturday at Utah Valley University in Orem. Four one-loss bracket games on Thursday will be held in Spanish Fork. All other games will be held at UVU.
The Cowboys will play Juan Diego Thursday at 1:30 at UVU. If they win, they will advance to the state semifinals Friday at 4:30 p.m. If they lose, the Cowboys will play a second game Thursday at 7 p.m.
Stansbury opens with a game against Canyon View at 1:30 p.m. at 295 W. Volunteer Drive in Spanish Fork.
The Cowboys’ pitching and defense set them up sweetly to start the state tournament. Grantsville tied for first place in Region 11 with Stansbury and Bear River a 9-3 record, but earned the No. 1 seed from Region 11 because they allowed fewer runs among the three first-place teams. The feat provided Grantsville with an opening game against a fourth seed, and a second game against a second seed.
The Cowboys face the No. 1 seed from Region 10 on Thursday.
“Juan Diego is always a solid team with a good baseball program,” said Grantsville coach Loren Anderson. “They have a couple of good hitters and four solid pitchers. The pitchers are not overpowering, but they can hit their spots.”
The coach mentioned the hitting of Juan Diego senior Justin Kummer who has knocked four home runs and seven doubles this season.
Pitchers Wyatt Barrus, Dillon Hutchins and Matt Garrard have flourished most of the time on the mound this year. The defense has been solid in most games.
“We have a lot of depth this season and the players have meshed together as a group. They also are close friends,” Anderson said. “This is the first time we’ve won the first two games (in the state tournament) in a long time.”
The coach said his players are not in awe of the teams from Region 9. Grantsville split games with Pine View in St. George in preseason. Grantsville was up 3-0 after three innings against Desert Hills at Desert Hills in the first round last year. The Thunder scored six in the fourth to win the game 6-3. Pine View and Desert Hills are the two other unbeaten teams headed into Thursday’s games.
Grantsville has exhibited a potent offense this season with 12 home runs, 10 triples and 42 doubles. Barrus has blasted seven home runs, three triples and seven doubles. Nick Arbon has pounded three triples and 11 doubles; and Hutchins has smacked seven doubles.
Stansbury coach Ray Clinton said he would like his team to score several runs against Canyon View early and end the game in five innings to give his pitchers some rest. However, he thinks the game most likely will be low scoring affair with pitchers Gage Manzione against Canyon View ace Zack Brinkerhoff. Brinkerhoff lost 2-0 against Carbon’s Cole Fossat in an opening-round game Saturday in Grantsville.
“They (Canyon View) have good pitching, I’m just hoping they don’t hit the ball very well against us,” Clinton said.
Stansbury ace pitcher Trent Griffin has been hampered with an injury, and only pitched a few innings against Pine View. “We’re in a single-elimination tournament now so we’ll have a quick hook with our pitchers if they’re not sharp.”
Stansbury also used Rhet Brockmeier and Jacob Colovich on the mound against Pine View last Saturday. Brockmeier has been injured most of the season.
The Stallions pounded three home runs, this season along with two triples and 23 doubles. Nick Mackay and Mazione led the way with five doubles apiece.