High school baseball playoffs: Anderson pitches Gunnison past Emery
ST. GEORGE — It may be hot in southern Utah, but the weather is no match for the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs.
Pitcher Rylan Anderson hurled a complete-game shutout and Gunnison won its 14th straight game with a 2-0 victory over Emery in the 2A State Tournament semifinals.
Anderson scattered five hits and didn't allow a Spartan base runner past second base.
"My fastball wasn't really working today, so I threw a lot of curves," Anderson said. "Having our great defense behind me is huge. You know that even if you don't have your best stuff, they've got you covered."
The Bulldogs have only committed one error at the state tournament and have improved their record to 23-2.
"I think that record is very representative of what this team is all about," Gunnison head coach Jared Anderson (no relation) said. "We've got three seniors on this team who have been starting since they were freshmen (Anderson, Ty Bartholomew and Tyler Harris). There was a learning curve, but their goal this year was to win their final game and the only way to do that is to win the state championship."
Rylan Anderson walked just two batters and both were cut down trying to steal. He also hit a batter, but also had four strikeouts, including a swinging K of McCoy Allred that ended the game in exactly 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Gunnison offense was pretty well held in check by the strong arm of Emery's Jaren Payne.
He allowed just three hits to a Gunnison lineup that normally averages 12.6 runs a game.
But the two runs were two too many with the hot Anderson on the mound. Both of the runs came in the top of the second inning.
Tyler Harris led off with a walk and moved to second when brother Braden was hit by a pitch. Colby Caldwell then laid down a perfect bunt. Payne chose to try and get Tyler Harris at third and the ball bounced off of the runner and into left field. Tyler Harris scored on the play, while Braden Harris and Caldwell were forced to stay at second and first.
That made it 1-0, but the next batter doubled the lead as Jarrett White singled home Braden Harris. Payne worked out of the jam to end the inning, but the damage was done.
"That's a great Emery team over there," Jared Anderson said. "I am so proud of my team, especially those two pitchers (Anderson and Bartholomew, who won on Thursday). I knew I could just give them the rock and they would go get it."
Gunnison, which advances to Saturday's 11 a.m. championship game, will try and recapture state titles it had won in 2007 and 2008.
"I was there for those games. My older brother Jace was on those teams," Rylan Anderson said. "I wanted to do what he did, to get that championship back."
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