I can’t say enough about our kids today. We haven’t been behind a lot this year, and we never lost our focus the entire game, no matter what the score was. —Grantsville head coach Aaron Perkins

GRANTSVILLE, Tooele County — South Sevier starting pitcher Easton Hunt only gave up two unearned runs on three hits in a complete game during the second-round playoff matchup at Grantsville High School on Saturday.

The only problem?

Grantsville starter Brady Arbon limited the Rams to one earned run on five hits, winning the pitchers' duel 2-1 to help the Cowboys advance to the quarterfinals of this year’s Class 3A state tournament.

“We were very patient at the plate,” Grantsville head coach Aaron Perkins said. “That Hunt kid, he’s one of the best pitchers in 3A, and they saved him for us. I’d have done the same thing. I told my kids that we’ve got to be patient, we’ve got to get his pitch count up. Once we got his pitch count up, his velocity went down and his curveball started staying up. That’s when we won the game.”

South Sevier scored in the first inning, forcing Grantsville to play from behind—something the Cowboys haven’t done a lot in their three-loss season. Ram catcher Treven Heath hit a double up the right-field line and scored on shortstop Brodee Tebbs’s two-out single up the middle two batters later.

“I can’t say enough about our kids today,” Perkins said. “We haven’t been behind a lot this year, and we never lost our focus the entire game, no matter what the score was.”

With the bases loaded in the fourth, Grantsville junior first baseman Isaac Riding hit a deep sacrifice fly that allowed second baseman Brody Barney to tag up from third and tie the game.

Hunt struck out Grantsville catcher Keegan Landon two batters later to end the inning with three men left on.

Then, in the fifth inning, Grantsville center fielder Parker Thomas hit an 0-2 pitch through the middle, allowing pinch hitter Zach Capel to score from second.

“I was just seeing how we were all hitting jack from the dugout,” Riding said. “I just wanted to produce.”

“I was just tired of losing,” he added with a smile.

Both of Hunt’s runs were the result of a free leadoff baserunner: he plunked Barney to start the fourth inning and issued a full-count walk to Capel in the fifth.

After giving up a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning, Arbon induced a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning without any damage. He struck out two of the final three batters to close the game.

Heath went 2-for-3 with a double and a run for South Sevier.

“I just tried to hit my spots and trust my defense,” Arbon said.

With the win, the Cowboys advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state playoffs where they will play the winner of the Region 15 No. 2 Grand at Region 14 champion Carbon at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

South Sevier will next face Region 14 No. 2 Juab in the one-loss bracket at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Salt Lake Community College’s Cate Field in West Jordan.

“No one deserved to lose that game, but I’ll take it,” Perkins said.

Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years.