3A State baseball: Underdog Cowboys rally to beat Thunder in semifinal

OREM – With a three-run rally in the sixth inning, Grantsville shifted the balance of power in the 3A State baseball Tournament Friday at Brent Brown Ballpark.

The Cowboys, trailing 2-0 to No. 1-ranked Desert Hills, scored on a home run, a squeeze bunt and a a steal of home plate to send the favored Thunder to the elimination bracket with a 3-2 win.

baseball“We’re really lucky just to be here with these great teams,” Grantsville coach Loren Anderson said. “Desert Hills is so good and we’ll probably see them again tomorrow in the championship. But we’ll just keep working and plugging away and doing our thing.”

The Cowboys’ thing is winning, and especially when they get down. Grantsville rallied from three down to Juan Diego Thursday and made up that two-run deficit Friday.

They did it with some savvy base-running and a couple of timely hits. The Thunder led 2-0 on a home run by Wyatt Bendall and an RBI single by Clay Wilcox. But DH squandered several opportunities to build on that lead and the Cowboys made them pay in the sixth.

Ky Fisher led off with a solo home run to make it 2-1. Dallin Williams then reached on a DH throwing error, but was gunned down at the plate after teammate Nick Arbon had doubled. Arbon went to third on the play and the Thunder elected to intentionally walk powerful Wyatt Barrus to put runners at the corners with one out. Dillon Hutchins then attempted a squeeze bunt that popped toward first. The low pop hit the turf in front of a diving Blake Betts, scoring Arbon to make it 2-2. Barrus ended up at third on the play. Two pitches later, with Wyatt Smith at the plate, DH pitcher Brayson Hurdsman picked Hutchins off first, but Barrus broke from third toward home on the throw. The Thunder throw was not in time and GHS had its first lead of the game at 3-2.

Desert Hills rallied and got men at the corners in the seventh with two outs and Dylan File at the plate. A wild pitch couldn’t get the run home, but Evan Moss was able to scamper to second from first. The only problem for DH was that it left first base open. Grantsville took that opportunity and intentionally walked the hard-hitting File. Clay Gardner then came up with the bases loaded and ripped a hard liner to left field.

Unfortunately for DH, there was room and time for left fielder Clay Matthews to make the catch and end the game.

“We were able to make some plays late in the game,” Anderson said. “Our pitcher, Hutchins, did a good job of keeping us in the game until our bats came around a little bit. That was a great game for the fans.”

DH plays Cedar at 9 a.m. to try and get another shot or two at Grantsville. The Cowboys are the only team with no losses, so the winner of Desert Hills and Cedar would have to beat GHS twice to capture the state title. The championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m.

3A State Baseball Bracket

Watch the highlights here:

Video produced by Dallas Griffin

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