Grand sluggers in good shape heading into region
Second half of season starts this week
by Greg Knight
The Times-Independent
Apr 05, 2018 | 585 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bruin Meador hits a pop fly against Summit Academy on March 26 in Bluffdale. 				         Photo by Ron Dolphin
Bruin Meador hits a pop fly against Summit Academy on March 26 in Bluffdale. Photo by Ron Dolphin
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The Grand County baseball squad turned red-hot on their recent road trip, earning a 9-2 overall record while remaining at 1-1 in 3A Region 15 play. Over the course of three days, March 26 through 28, the Red Devils easily dispatched Summit Academy, North Summit and Providence Hall, thanks to a lot of offense and the pitching prowess of Masen Ward, Alec Williams and Josh Jones.

March 26

Grand County 7,

Summit Academy 3

The Red Devils started their road trip in Bluffdale with a non-region game against the Bears. Grand County was up 6-0 in the third inning — and it took that long for Summit to register a run.

By the fourth inning the Red Devils were up 7-1, and Ward held off the Bears until the seventh inning as Brayden Schultz went to the mound as the closer. In the end, Grand County allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out three. Defensively, the action for the Red Devils was in the outfield as they tallied 35 stops, 10 of which came from senior Gage Hansen.

While the game against the Bears wasn’t the most productive this season for the Red Devils, senior Bruin Meador led the way with three runs off two hits. Ward, Williams and Trevin Packard added one run apiece, and Schultz and Alec Williams each penciled in two RBIs. The Bears required four pitchers to get through the game, with Summit’s Alex Garcia taking a 7.00 ERA. Ward threw 87 pitches, with 53 strikes, and finished with a 1.17 ERA while walking only one Bears batter.

March 27

Grand County 25,

North Summit 3

If there was ever a reason for the mercy-run rule in Utah high school baseball, the Red Devils’ game against the North Summit Braves proved the point. Grand County was able to extend a 15-0 lead by the third inning, and drove in 10 more runs in the fourth before the Braves finally managed a trio of runs in the fifth.

The mercy rule in Utah states that a 10-run deficit by the end of five innings wins the game in favor of the team in the lead.

Nearly every Red Devil batter recorded an RBI in the game — with Jones hitting three of his own and Brody Williams, Ryelan Denney, Hansen and Meador each popping off a pair each. Meador also led the way again in scoring with three runs. Two-run performances came from Jared Smith, Nick Downard, Macray Ellis, Alec Williams and Jones. Every other Grand County batter scored one run in the win. In terms of power hitting, both Meador and Jones smashed doubles, and Meador logged a steal off the Braves’ pitcher.

In the outfield, Schultz went 8-for-8 in putouts, and Luke Williams also earned a 1.000 fielding percentage off three stops on two outs and a double play. A double play stop also came from Denney early in the matchup.

On the mound for Grand, Alec Williams pitched a nearly flawless three innings by giving up no runs and delivering 28 strikes on 38 pitches. In the fourth inning Ty Lindsay took to the mound and, while giving up three runs off two hits to earn a 10.50 ERA, held off the Braves long enough to the final three outs and a win for the Red Devils.

March 28

Grand County 10,

Providence Hall 0

On the final day of the Red Devil road trip the team traveled to Herriman to face the Providence Hall Patriots, a team they beat soundly, 10-0, in five innings to seal their three-game road streak.

The game against the Patriots was Hansen’s opportunity to shine as he logged a run off three hits and recorded two RBIs. Sophomore Brayden Cloud was perfect in his two at-bats with two hits and two runs, while six other Red Devil runners found their way home to score. Ward and Alec Williams also added a pair of RBIs in the win.

A key to the win was the Red Devil base-stealing prowess — Meador was the leader for his team, taking three steals, while Packard, Jones and Downard also outran the pitching staff of the Patriots.

Defensively, Grand County recorded a .955 fielding average as eight of the outfielders were perfect in stops and assists. Brody Williams went 6-of-6 in the field and Packard secured all four of his opportunities at outs against Providence. Ward, Jones, Meador and Alec Williams each earned assists. Jones threw 41 strikes on 70 pitches against 20 Patriot batters.

According to the Utah High School Activities Association statistical leader board, Alec Williams is ranked No. 2 in the state in batting with a .581 average.

“Alec is a good player and has a lot of talent,” said coach Ron Dolphin. “He is one of the most even-keeled players we have on the team and this stat is a testament to the kind of player he is.”

Region 15 begins this week

The season, up to this point, has been mostly a non-region affair, with the Red Devils splitting a win (4-0) and a loss (4-1) against Emery in early March to go 1-1. This week, starting on Friday, April 6, Grand County will begin the march toward the playoffs in 3A by facing the South Sevier Rams (6-2, 5-0) at home in a double header. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m., with the second game slated to start at 4 p.m.

For those who remember last season — the year the Red Devils lost to Gunnison Valley in the state 2A finals game — Grand County dispatched South Sevier by four runs, 9-5, in the second round of the playoffs.

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