There is a saying in playoff baseball that goes something like, “There is no tomorrow unless you win today.” The Grand County Red Devils must have taken that motto to heart last weekend as Moab’s boys of summer put together a 14-0 win over Morgan County in game one of the 3A playoffs. The win was fortuitous as the Red Devils followed that opener with a bitter 4-3 loss to No. 1-seed Carbon in the sixth inning of game two.
A coin flip after Grand County’s wins over San Juan last week delegated the Red Devils to the No. 2 seed in 3A Region 15, giving the top spot to Richfield.
Because of the win against the Trojans, Grand County stays alive in the playoff hunt and will face Judge Memorial on May 10 at 1:30 p.m. at Juan Diego High School in Draper.
Grand County 14
Morgan County 0
A nine-run first inning was the prologue to the win by Grand County in the opening match of the 3A playoffs. The Red Devils would add four more runs in the third inning and finish off with a run in the fourth inning to take the 14-0 win. Grand County starter Masen Ward pitched three innings of two-hitter, five-strikeout and no-walk baseball, with closer Brody Williams throwing for no hits and a walk while striking out two Trojan hopefuls.
Five Red Devils — Brayden Schultz, Trevin Packard, Josh Jones, Alec Williams and Bruin Meador — scored two runs each. The duo of Schultz and Meador each tapped in triples, along with five RBIs between them. Packard and Jones each logged 2RBIs in their at-bats, and Nick Downard, Meador and Williams scored runs as well. Schultz led all Grand County batters with a 1.000 average on two hits during two at-bats. Williams followed closely at .667 with two hits during three turns at the box. Williams and Meador also added two stolen bases.
On defense Grand County recorded a .957 fielding percentage, with only one error marring an otherwise perfect performance. Gage Hansen led the team with six stops on six chances at first base, while Schultz added four stops at home and handed out two assists.
Grand County 3
Despite taking a 3-1 lead over the Dinos in the fifth inning, the Red Devils lost control of the game late as Carbon put up three runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Grand’s lead, although short-lived, came after Schultz smashed a two-run home run that sailed over the right field fence.
The game started slow, with a pair of donuts on the scoreboard until the Dinos scored on an RBI single in the fourth inning. Back-to-back doubles from Meador and Williams in the top of the fifth inning tied the game at 1-1.
The Dinos, who came into the game as the No. 1 seed in the bracket, tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning on a 2RBI double with the bases loaded. The Dinos sealed the deal in the bottom of the sixth off a triple that scored the go-ahead run and got the 4-3 win.
Jones was the big slugger of the day for Grand County, netting a triple on two hits, one run and an RBI against Dinos pitcher Cody Lowe.
On the mound Jones delivered for 5.1 innings and faced 25 batters, allowing four runs on six hits and walking two while striking out five. Reliever Williams pitched .2 innings, delivering one walk.
A must-win against
With one loss in the playoffs so far, Grand County needs to be perfect from here on out if they want to win a state championship. Another loss will eliminate them from contention.
Assistant coach Ron Dolphin said he is confident in his team — but unsure which Judge Memorial (14-10) team the Red Devils will face, a winner or a loser.
“Some days they are the greatest team in the world, and some days they can’t put an inning together, so I am not sure what we are walking into this week. We could see either team.” Dolphin said. “All I know is that we are going into this game looking to do what we do and do it right. When we do that, as you’ve seen all this season, we win ball games.”
Judge Memorial (No. 3-seed) entered the bracket with Grand County after falling to No. 3-seed Union, 14-4, but defeating No. 6 Delta, 6-2.