They made a couple mistakes and we capitalized on them. —Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins
KEARNS — Giving top-ranked Grantsville extra base runners and extra outs is a recipe for disaster, something Manti found out the hard way Friday night.
Grantsville’s hitters pounded out 11 hits and when combined with five walks and two hit batters, it rolled past Manti 9-3 to advance to the 3A championship at Kearns High School on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Manti drops down into the one-loss bracket and faces the Richfield-Carbon winner at 10 a.m., with the winner taking on Grantsville.
“It’s great, we’ve worked all year for this. We’re 0-0, that’s how we’re going into it. We haven’t accomplished anything yet,” said Grantsville coach Aaron Perkins.
Grantsville will give the game ball to Parker Thomas in the championship, and he’s 6-1 on the season.
Thomas had a terrific day at the plate on Friday, with Perkins saying he hit two balls harder than he’s seen all season. He contributed to Grantsville’s big four-run fourth inning, which blew the game wide open and all came with two outs.
Brody Barney started the rally with an RBI double to right field, with Thomas following with an RBI single to push the lead to 5-2.
Following a walk to Brady Arbon, Manti pitcher Braden Miller appeared to pitch his way out of a potentially big inning when he got Grantsville’s Jacob Paxton to hit a pop up in foul territory near first base. The first baseman dropped it, however, and one pitch later Paxton ripped a two-run double to right center field.
“They made a couple mistakes and we capitalized on them,” said Perkins.
Barney finished the game going 2 for 4 with two RBI, while Thomas, Paxton and Keagan Landon also added two RBI.
“This team has been great at feeding off momentum all year, our dugout is a big help. They get after it in there,” said Perkins.
Justin Richardson went the distance on the mound for Grantsville, scattering seven hits and striking out four. Perkins said Richardson did a great job of trusting his defense.
“We throw a lot of strikes, and so we know teams are going to put the ball in play on us and they got some hits today. They hit the ball well. But our defense played well in the times we got the ball hit at us,” said Perkins.
Grantsville did commit two errors in the second inning which contributed to a Manti run, but it settled down after that and then its bats took over.