The Stallions are still perfect in Region 11 games.
It took them more than three hours and 11 innings of work to do it, but Stansbury defeated Grantsville 9-6 Wednesday in Grantsville to improve to 17-0 in Region 11 games the past two seasons. The Stallions are 5-0 in region this year with their latest victory.
“It was like the Bear River game last year in that you didn’t know if it was ever going to end,” said Stansbury coach Ray Clinton. “Grantsville’s a tough team; it’s a big win for us because it gives us a two-game lead with seven more to go.”
Last year, Stansbury defeated Bear River in Garland 9-5 in a 14-inning game. It was the tightest region game they had played the past two seasons until Monday’s fracas with the rival Cowboys.
In the extra-inning game last year, Stansbury broke open a game tied at 5 with four runs in the top of the 14th inning. Monday, the Stallions gained their largest cushion with three runs in the top of the 11th. It was the first time Stansbury led in the game.
After five innings, Stansbury’s streak was in jeopardy.
The Cowboys scored six runs in the first five frames while holding the Stallions to two. Stansbury then rallied for four runs in the sixth to tie the game at 6-6.
“We came out and played well through the first five innings, but gave up three singles to start the sixth, and then made some costly mistakes,” said Grantsville coach Loren Anderson. “You can’t make a lot errors against a good team like Stansbury. Still, we had our chances late in the game but just didn’t execute while we had the opportunity.”
Neither team could muster much offense the next four innings after the sixth. Stansbury had runners at first and second with no outs in the top of the 10th, but Grantsville relief pitcher Wyatt Barrus retired three in a row. Grantsville pushed a runner to second base with one out in the bottom of 10th, but could not bring him home.
After four scoreless innings, Stansbury cashed in in the top of the 11th.
With one out, Alex Mackay walked and Cole Merseth came in to run for the Stansbury catcher. Merseth stole second on a close call. Grantsville catcher Kelby Landon fired a perfect throw to second, but Merseth was called safe. Grantsville coach Loren Anderson called timeout to argue the call with the base umpire.
Cody Barkdull hit a grounder to short, but an errant throw by the Cowboys got past the first baseman and Merseth came home to score. Barkdull then stole second, and Brek Bentley followed with a shot to deep center that rolled under the fence for a ground-rule double to bring in Barkdull. Bentley stole third on another close play. Chance Shields walked to put runners on the corners. Shields stole second, and in the process Bentley raced home for the third run of the inning to push the Stallions’ lead to 9-6. Barrus struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
Grantsville made it interesting in the bottom of the 11th by getting runners to second and third with two outs and power hitter Skyler Cloward at bat.
The Stansbury coach visited Griffith on the mound before he faced Cloward.
“I told him to show his slider. Trenton had only been using two of his pitches and we had a good hitter at the plate who could tie it up with one swing. He did show the slider and then froze the hitter when he came back with a fast ball on a 3-2 count,” Clinton said.
With the count at 3-2 and two runners on the move, Cloward looked at strike three to end the game.
Grantsville starter Landon Hammond scattered seven hits and allowed only two runs through five complete innings until things started to unravel in the top of the sixth.
Bentley started the inning with a single to left, Shields singled up the middle and Gage Manzione pounded a single to right to score Bentley and cut the lead to 6-3. Caleb Batchelor reached on an infield single to bring in Shields and slice the lead to 6-4.
Nick Mackay laid down a bunt, and G-ville’s throw to first sailed over the first baseman’s head. Manzione scored on the error to make it 6-5, and Bachelor was called out at home trying to score on the same play for the first out of the inning.
Wyatt Branch walked to put two more runners on base, and Grantsville brought in Barrus to pitch. Branch eventually came home to tie the game at 6, but Barrus got out of the jam with a ground-out and fly out to end the inning.
Neither team scored in the next four innings until the Stallions ended it in the 11th.
The Cowboys scored twice in the first inning on a two-out, two RBI single up the middle by Manny Begay. The Stallions cut it to 2-1 with a single by Bentley who scored on a double to the left field corner by Manzione. Stansbury tied it at 2 in the third when Filip Anderson singled and scored on a bloop single by Alex Mackay.
Grantsville jumped ahead 4-2 in the third on a two-out two-RBI single by Quinton Smith. The Cowboys made it 5-2 in the fourth on an RBI single by Landon.
Stansbury threatened to score in the fifth when Branch started the inning with a double to deep center and stole third. Hammond stranded Branch at third with a line-out, strikeout and ground out. Grantsville increased its lead to 6-2 in the fifth when Cloward doubled to right followed by a two-out RBI single to center by Smith. Grantsville was held scoreless the next six innings.
Stansbury finished with 11 hits compared to Grantsville’s nine. The Stallions committed only one error while the Cowboys committed four errors in addition to misplaying three fly balls in the outfield.
Stansbury plays at Ben Lomond today, hosts Tooele on Friday, plays at Woods Cross Saturday and hosts Bear River Tuesday.
Grantsville hosts Ogden today and plays at Morgan on Tuesday.