The Grand County baseball team defeated Emery 8-7 in extra innings at Emery on Friday, April 29, in its regular season finale. Senior Brayden Ward hit a home run and a double, driving in five Grand runs to offset a day in which he struggled defensively, committing three errors.
Grand finished the season 8-2 in 2A East play, which put it in second place after North Sevier defeated Gunnison 3-0 in Salina on Tuesday, April 26, and 12-1 in Gunnison on Wednesday, April 27, to finish 9-1 and clinch the No. 1 seed. The Wolves’ only region loss was a 5-4 loss to Grand in Salina on April 8. The Bulldogs finished third at 7-3 and Emery and San Juan tied for fourth at 3-7. The Spartans and Broncos were scheduled to play in Moab on Tuesday, May 3, for the final playoff spot.
Grand County High School activities director Ron Dolphin said coach Jared Meador does an amazing job each year of progressing the team through the season to peak at the right time.
“We always peak at playoff time,” Dolphin said. “I think he’s learned over the years to build through the season so as not to peak too early. His motto has always been to get one step better each day.”
Grand will play 2A Central No. 3 seed Manti in Enterprise to begin the playoffs on Saturday, May 7, at 11:30 a.m., but Dolphin said the Red Devils feel they’re right where they need to be and shouldn’t be worried about the travel distance, having proven themselves capable of winning on the road.
“To beat Gunnison and North Sevier on their fields is a testament to this team’s character,” he said. “They’re road warriors … Enterprise is a long ways away, but it doesn’t matter to these guys.”
Enterprise will play either North Summit or Layton Christian prior to the Grand-Manti game and the winners of the two games will play each other at 1:30 p.m. The losers will play each other in the one-loss bracket at 4:30 p.m.
As for Meador and the Red Devils, Dolphin said they treat the playoffs the same as any other game.
“I’ve seen coaches both in programs here in Moab and in other places ratchet things up and overdo things heading into the playoffs,” Dolphin said. “We’re not overdoing anything or trying to over-prepare. It’s just business as usual.”
Three of the four teams from each first-round site will move on to the second weekend of the playoffs at Dixie State University’s Bruce Hurst Field in St. George from May 12-14. The tournament will culminate with the state championship on May 14 at 11:30 a.m.
Grand will head to Enterprise for first weekend of state playoffs