The Grand County High School baseball team capitalized on its home field advantage in the opening-round games of the state 2A playoffs Saturday, May 4, winning both contests.
The Red Devils first defeated the Enterprise Wolves by the score of 9-2, then beat the Parowan Rams immediately afterward, by the score of 15-10.
GCHS junior Koi Cook led a balanced offensive attack by batting a perfect 7-for-7 over the two games. Cook hit one home run, two triples, two doubles, and two singles.
Cook also pitched the entire game against Parowan. The Rams came out strong with six hits in the first two innings to take an early 5-1 lead, but the Red Devils rallied, scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning to go ahead 6-5.
“We had a rough start, but I knew we just had to get some energy and momentum going our way, and we’d be all right,” Cook said afterward.
Grand scored six more runs in the third inning as the Red Devils rolled on to victory. Grand had a total of 16 hits against Parowan, with all nine players in the lineup getting at least one hit and also scoring at least once. Designated hitter Cameron Taylor, who didn’t play during Grand’s opening round win over Enterprise, went 3-for-5 against Parowan, including a two-run home run in the third inning.
Parowan senior Colby Warren started the game at pitcher, but he was replaced by reliever Austin Pickett after walking the first two batters of the second inning. Pickett inherited a four-run lead, but Cook, who had reached base on a hit by pitch, attempted to steal home with the bases loaded. The pitcher was called for a balk on the play, giving Grand the go-ahead run, 6-5. Pickett later struck out the last two batters to end the inning, but the damage had been done and Grand never trailed again.
“It was a long game. But the whole team played great, both offensively and defensively, and this is a credit to them,” said Cook.
“That second inning was big,” added GCHS assistant coach Ron Dolphin. “Our kids are mentally tough, and they got right back in the game and took control of it.”
Also getting extra-base hits for Grand against Parowan were Kiel Schraft and Ronnie Dolphin, who each had a double. Schraft also doubled once in the Enterprise game, as did Tanner White. Adam Jenkinson led off the Enterprise game with a triple in the bottom of the first inning.
Red Devil freshman Dalton McElhaney pitched the entire game against Enterprise, allowing just two hits and striking out six batters. Grand had 10 total hits in that contest, led by Cook, who went 3-for-3 at the plate with five RBIs.
Grand, which had earlier won a coin toss with Region 15 co-champion Emery to earn the right to host the opening-round games, was the only one of four 2A regional host teams on Saturday to win both its games. Region 15 No. 2 seed Emery, which had to travel to Beaver to play on Saturday, upset the host Beavers 3-2 to remain undefeated in the playoffs. Also winning twice on Saturday were No. 4 seed Millard (at Summit Academy) and No. 3 Kanab (at Manti).
Grand is next scheduled to face the Kanab Cowboys at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at Kearns High. The winner of that game will play the Emery vs. Millard winner in the semifinals Friday at 4:30 p.m., also at Kearns.
The quarterfinal’s losing teams will drop into the one-loss bracket. The double-elimination tournament will conclude on Saturday at Kearns.