It’s probably the biggest cherry (on top of the sundae) there is. —Grantsville's Coy Johnson
KEARNS — Grantsville hit through the order in the first inning en route to a 12-4 win over Carbon to win the Class 3A state baseball title at Kearns High School on Saturday.
“I feel so excited right now. It’s been a dream that I’ve always had since a little kid to play ball and win a state championship, so that was pretty amazing,” sophomore starting pitcher Parker Thomas said. “I was pretty excited (when I got the nod to start), I knew I had to hit my spots and keep it a controlled game.”
After nearly a six-hour rain delay, Thomas started the big inning off with an RBI double off the fence in left field that plated second baseman Brody Barney. First baseman Brady Arbon hit an RBI double up the left field line to make it 2-0 a batter later, before designated hitter Isaac Riding hit him in with a single through the right side from the No. 6 spot. Catcher Keagan Landon cleared the bases with a two-RBI double and scored Coy Johnson’s single to make it 6-0 in the bottom of the first.
“I have every confidence in the world in Parker Thomas,” Grantsville head coach Aaron Perkins said. “Parker is a competitor, that’s the one thing Parker is, and I knew he would give us everything he had today. And he did — he gave us everything he had.”
Carbon rallied in the second inning. Catcher Anthony Jones hit a single through the left side from the No. 9 spot to score third baseman Collin Lewis. Shortstop Ty Anderson hit a triple off the right-field fence to clear the bases and make it 6-3 in the top of the frame.
Carbon scored again in the fourth inning on Anderson’s RBI single to plate outfielder Zac Bradley that made it 12-4.
“Before the game, I told the kids, ‘We’re going to have to grind out this win, because that Carbon team is a good team,’” Perkins said. “I told them we need six or seven runs, and I think I pissed them off because we got 12. After that first inning, Brady came in and said, ‘Coach, I think we’re getting more than six.’”
Thomas went 5 2/3 innings and was credited with the win. He allowed four runs on 11 hits and struck out six batters, walking two. Johnson struck out three of the four batters he faced to finish the game after Thomas reached his pitch limit.
“Right after, everything was quiet and I didn’t really hear anything,” Johnson said of the final strikeout. “Keagan started running at me and I just got that feeling that we did it. We did it!”
Landon went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Grantsville in the win. Arbon went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs, a pair of doubles and one strikeout. Thomas went 2-4 with an RBI and a double. Riding had an RBI and a strikeout in his 1-4 day, scoring once. Barney scored three runs. Third baseman Justin Richardson had a run and a walk, going 1-for-3. Outfielder Zach Capell went 2-4. Speed-up runner Chace Gibson scored three runs.
“It’s probably the biggest cherry (on top of the sundae) there is,” Johnson said of winning the title in his senior year.
Anderson went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs for the second-place Carbon.
Dino starter Nate Olson was chased after one inning, giving up three doubles and six runs (four earned) on 32 pitches. Reliever Adrien Sanchez threw three innings, allowing six runs (one earned) and five hits, striking out two. Braxton Bennett allowed one hit in the final two innings and struck out one batter.
The win gave Grantsville its sixth state baseball championship, its first since 2014.
“I feel great, I don’t know what else to say,” Perkins said. “I’ll be honest, it hasn’t set in yet. I am so happy for those seniors. Those seniors set a goal at the first of the year, and they just accomplished it. It’s not about me; those kids are the ones who won the game on the field today.”
Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years.