The Red Devils hosted the opening round of Region 15 competition on Saturday, May 1, with a contest against Diamond Ranch in the morning and Parowan in the afternoon. Diamond Ranch and Parowan were ranked sixth and second in Region 15, respectively.
Grand’s first contest against Diamond Ranch was a close competition between the two teams. Both the Red Devils and the Diamond Ranch Diamondbacks battled for the lead through all seven innings of the game. The Diamondbacks outhit the Red Devil team, which appeared apprehensive at the start of the contest, said Grand’s assistant coach Ron Dolphin.
“We had the bases loaded twice, but we couldn’t get players across home,” he said. “We couldn’t get the timely hits, but they did. The [Diamondbacks] hit the ball pretty hard.”
At the top of sixth inning, the Diamondbacks had a considerable lead over the Red Devils. However, the Red Devils rallied and took the lead at the bottom of the sixth. Grand held the lead for the duration of the contest and won by the score of 6-5.
GCHS senior Koi Cook took the pitcher’s mound for all seven innings. The win – an important one for the Red Devils – carried Grand into a second round matchup against the Parowan Rams. Although Parowan was ranked higher than Diamond Ranch in the region and was a contender in 2013’s state championship game, the Red Devils handily won the contest. With the Red Devils holding an 11-1 lead, the game was called in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.
“Our bats came alive. We had 13 hits during that game,” Dolphin said. During the contest, GCHS senior Cameron Taylor and juniors Ronnie Dolphin and Tanner White all had double-base hits. At the bottom of the fifth inning, senior Adam Jenkinson hit a triple for the Red Devils, bringing teammate Kyle Schraft into home and winning the contest.
Not only did Grand perform well offensively, but they also played excellent defense, Dolphin said.
“We handled the game extremely well. We only had one defensive error against Parowan,” he said.
GCHS junior Kyler Nelson was the winning pitcher forGrand.
With Saturday’s two wins, the Red Devils advanced to the 2A state playoffs.
“We’re right where we need to be,” Dolphin said of Grand’s chances against Manti. “Baseball’s anyone’s game. The team that plays the best wins the game. We need timely hits and routine plays to succeed at this stage in the playoffs.”
The Red Devils will travel to Kearns High School in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 8 to play the Manti Templars in the semifinals. If Grand wins that game, the team will play the winner of the contest between Beaver and North Sevier on Friday, May 9 at 4:30 p.m. The 2A championship game will be played on Saturday, May 10 at 11 a.m.