By the end, it was more of a marathon than a baseball game.
But Emery finally broke through in the ninth inning on a rally sparked by Geren Payne as the Spartans topped Millard 6-2 in the Class 2A baseball playoffs. Emery advances to Friday’s winner’s bracket semifinal with Gunnison and is one step closer to earning its first championship since 1982.
"Everybody got tired, and they had to pull [Dakota Bullock]," coach Steve Gordon said. "My guy [Brandon Oliver] was tired, too, but it was just about who wanted it more."
The teams battled through a scoreless tie for six innings before Emery took a 2-0 lead. The Eagles hung on by scoring two more in the bottom of the seventh, sending the contest into extra innings.
After several walks in the ninth, Payne hit a two-run single that gave the Spartans the lead, and the team managed to get two more home as insurance. Oliver closed out, holding Millard at bay in the bottom of the ninth.
Emery moves on to face the Bulldogs, who beat the Spartans 7-2 in a nonregion game last month.
"Gunnison is a great team, and you know they’ll throw a good pitcher," Gordon said. "We hit it better than most, so we’re hoping it’s a battle."
Gunnison 7, San Juan 2 • Ty Bartholomew had a strong day on the mound against the Broncos, holding them to only three hits as he earned his 11th victory of the season. The Bulldogs backed him up with nine hits, including three doubles in the sixth inning to seal the victory.
"We knew they had good hitters, so Ty really worked hard to get ahead," coach Jared Anderson said. "He really battled today, and our defense played really well."
Grand 5, Beaver 3 • Cam Taylor nailed a two-run homer in the fourth that would prove to be the winning runs. Tyson McDougall earned the victory.
Richfield 8, Enterprise 5 • The Wildcats knocked out the defending champs with a three-run rally in the sixth inning.
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