SPRINGVILLE Payson baseball coach Scott Haney told his players prior to Thursday's 4A play-in game with Provo that his teams don't lose on "Survivor" night the night of his favorite television show.
Actually, that's probably not true. However, the Lions still did some pretty good surviving of their own in the do-or-die game and eliminated the Bulldogs with a convincing 7-2 win. While Provo's season is over, Payson lives to play Sky View on the road Tuesday in the first round.
"The way we're playing right now, I feel pretty good about our chances to beat anybody," Haney said after the Lions won their fourth-straight game.
Sophomore lefty Brett Carter started for the Lions and allowed only five hits in four and two-thirds. From there, Tyson Memmott took over and he fanned the first four batters he faced to douse any hopes the Bulldogs had of coming back from a 6-2 deficit.
"We're playing pretty good defense and we're pitching it pretty well, and we're being a lot more patient at the plate and I think that's why we're playing better baseball," Haney said.
After Carter got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, the Lions gave him some comfort with three runs in the bottom half. Spensor Smith drove two home with a double down the left-field line and Mitchell Cowden singled in the other.
The Lions tacked on two more in the second with an RBI single by Smith and a sacrifice fly from Cowden. An RBI singled by Cody Ferguson in the third made it 6-0 for Payson.
Provo did strand five runners in the first two innings, but the Bulldogs were still fortunate to be within striking distance considering the Lions stranded eight after three innings.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the fifth when McClain Griffin pushed one home with a single and a second run scored when the throw from the outfield bounced into Payson's dugout. But with two runners on and two outs, Memmott came on and ended the threat with a strike-out. Provo had only two runners reach the rest of the way. Payson's final run scored in the fifth on a throwing error.The Lions' top seven hitters each had at least one hit, with Ferguson getting three and Smith two. For Provo, Andy Isom and Colby Frampton each had two singles.