The Grand County High School baseball team enters its first season in 3A as the No. 1 team in the Deseret News coaches poll after a runner-up finish to Gunnison in its final season in 2A last year.
Grand baseball coach Jared Meador said that there are seven seniors in the starting lineup, five of whom earned some degree of All-State accolades last season. Brayden Schultz and Josh Jones were First-Team All-Staters. The pair of decorated seniors went a combined 16-2 last season on the mound, while Schultz also played catcher and Jones also played outfield. Other returning All-Staters are Bruin Meador and Masen Ward from the second team and Alec Williams, who earned honorable mention. Nick Downard in the outfield and Gage Hansen at first base round out the seniors in the starting lineup.
“We truly have a great group of kids to work with this year,” Jared Meador said. “One thing you learn as a coach is that when you have a great group of parents, you have a great group of kids. Our group of parents have given these boys the support that they needed over the years, and it’s really paid off.”
Jared Meador said that a quality contingent of underclassmen complement the strong core of senior leaders. He said the Red Devils are a group who loves baseball and doesn’t have a problem putting in the work to be successful. To help motivate offseason work, Jared Meador said the coaching staff several years ago came up with the 300 Bucket Club.
“A bucket holds 60 baseballs, so if you hit a bucket of balls, that’s one,” he said. “The players that make it into the 300 Bucket Club have gotten in 18,000 reps to prepare for the season. 300 Bucket Club members are the only players allowed to wear black to practice, bus trips, and games. This year we have 12 members, so when you see a baseball player wearing black you know they have earned that right.”
Following Grand in the preseason rankings are Grantsville, Carbon, South Sevier and Judge Memorial. The Red Devils, who went 21-5 and placed second in 2A East in 2017, will compete in 3A Region 15, which includes the same schools for baseball as it does for basketball: Grand, Emery, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, San Juan and South Sevier. Unlike other sports, in which region play occurs in the second-half of the season, the Red Devil baseball team has region games scattered throughout the schedule, beginning in Castle Dale versus Emery on Tuesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. The Red Devils open their 2018 campaign at the Bloomfield Invitational in Bloomfield, New Mexico, on Thursday, March 8 through Saturday, March 10.
Red Devils begin play this weekend in Bloomfield, New Mexico
“We truly have a great group of kids to work with this year. One thing you learn as a coach is that when you have a great group of parents, you have a great group of kids. Our group of parents have given these boys the support that they needed over the years, and it’s really paid off.”