KEARNS To advance through the one-loss side of the state baseball playoffs, teams need to get pitching efforts exactly like Springville's Kurt Averett had Monday afternoon at Gates Field.
Needing to win seven consecutive games over a five-day span to win a state title puts a premium on pitching and conserving arms. Averett helped his Red Devil squad by throwing a complete-game shutout over Payson to help his team advance 2-0.
"He did a great job for us today," said Springville coach Willy Child. "For him to go out and give us seven strong innings is a huge help. He struggled at times, but every time he needed a big pitch, he was able to come up with it. He did exactly what we needed today."
Averett scattered four hits and walked three. He also hit two batters and had to battle his way out of jams several times. Payson had players in scoring position three different times before Averett buckled down and got the outs he needed.
"I guess I like to put myself in a little trouble," Averett joked. "I love to compete, so I guess I can just focus in a little better when I have guys on base. I like to find a way to win whatever it takes."
While Averett was doing the job for the Red Devils, Tyson Memmott performed admirably for the Lions. The lefty took finding ways out of trouble to a new level. Except for a one-two-three first inning, Springville threatened to score in every inning. In fact, the Devils stranded a runner at third base in each of the last six innings.
"I was disappointed in leaving those guys, especially those guys in scoring position," added Child. "We had a lot of chances to score some more runs, but at the same time, you have to give Memmott credit. He made some big pitches to get out of those situations. He gave us fits up there."
Only in one inning was Springville able to capitalize. Eric Bulow led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run to center field. It was one of only two extra-base hits given up by Memmott. He then went through a bit of a control issue as he walked four of the next five batters, the last of whom was drawn by Brandon Miller and earned him only the second RBI of the game.
"I knew that if I just kept doing my job that eventually my teammates were going to score," said Averett. "That is the thing about being on this team, we all count on each other. We are all good friends and tight, so we all rely on each other to make plays."With the win, Springville keeps its hopes of a title alive and faces Mountain Crest today at 1:30 p.m. at Gates Field on the campus of Kearns High School. Payson had its season come to a close with the loss.