For the second straight season, Grantsville finished second in Salt Lake County’s Varsity Prep league tournament to end its summer season.
“We had a good run this year against some good teams,” said Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins.
Murray defeated Grantsville 10-0 in five innings Tuesday night on the Spartans’ home field at Ken Price Field to capture the tourney title.
The Spartans were the lone team to defeat the Cowboys in postseason play with an earlier 7-4 victory over the Cowboys in pool play Friday night.
Grantsville defeated Brighton and Summit Academy in pool play and then blasted Olympus 16-6 on 16 hits in Monday’s semifinal game.
“We had a great summer of baseball and found out a lot about our team and the areas we need to get better. As a coaching staff, we’ll go back and work on those areas and be ready in the spring,” the coach said.
Murray scored two runs in the first inning, five in the second and three more in the third to build the 10-run lead. The Spartans looked to keep piling on runs in the third, but Tyson Hainke came on in relief with the bases loaded and to get a strikeout and ground out to stop the bleeding. Hainke then pitched scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth.
Jackson George started on the mound for Grantsville with Sam Daybell coming on in relief in the second inning, followed by Hainke in the third.
“I give our pitchers a lot of credit for even going out there and trying. They all threw on short rest and were tired. We ran out of arms,” Perkins said. “We also lost a couple of pitchers to injury over the summer so that didn’t help.”
Meanwhile, Grantsville managed only a pair of hits against Murray’s top pitcher.
Josh Staley pounded a single to right in the first inning and Kaden Kelley singled to center in the fifth inning.
“Throughout the game we hit the ball well seven or eight times, just right at people,” the coach said.
Baylor Hall pounded the ball to deep center in the first inning for a long out, Kaden Lund ripped a line shot right at the second baseman in the second and Staley pounded the ball to deep center for a long out in the fourth inning.
Down 10-0, Grantsville made a big-time effort to keep the game alive with runs in the bottom of the fifth to avoid the game ending on the 10-run rule.
Murray wanted to end the game early because its ace pitcher had been on the mound the entire game.
“That was their best pitcher and they didn’t have anybody good to come on and pitch in relief so they wanted to keep that 10-run lead,” Perkins said.
Kelley opened with a single in the bottom of the fifth and Jackson George walked with Keaton George coming on to pinch run. A wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs.
Kelley tried to score on an infield grounder and was called out at the plate for the first out. Keaton George tried to score on a grounder and was called out at the plate for the second out.
With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count, Caleb Sullivan struck out on a called third strike that appeared to be high out of the strike zone. Perkins argued the call with the home umpire.
“I think the umpire wanted to go home,” Perkins said. “It did make things interesting in the fifth. If we get a couple of runs there you don’t know what is going to happen with their lack of pitching depth. The one thing about this group is they won’t quit.”
The coach said he can’t complain.
“Our kids played hard and to make it to the championship game in this league is no small feat, being the smallest program in the league,” Perkins said.
Grantsville reached the finals last year, losing the championship game to Herriman.