Kearns • Locked in a pitchers’ duel Saturday, Grand’s Kyler Nelson did his best to stay locked in and just trust his defense. It was that kind of mentality — and a short memory — that kept his Red Devils in it.
A four-run outburst led by Cameron Taylor in the fifth inning gave Grand a comfortable cushion and ultimately a 5-3 win over Beaver, as the Devils advanced to the Class 2A state baseball championship.
StorylinesGrand’s Kyler Nelson throws a complete game as the Red Devils clinch a title-game berth.
» Beaver’s Tyler Hoyt also goes the distance, but takes the hard-luck loss.
Class 2A baseball
Winners’ bracket final
» Grand 5, Beaver 3
» Emery 10, Millard 0
At Utah Valley University
Losers’ bracket final
» Beaver vs. Emery, 11 a.m.
» Grand vs. Beaver/Emery winner, 1 p.m.*
* Rematch (if necessary), 20 minutes after conclusion of first game
Class 3A baseball
Winners’ bracket quarterfinals
» Pine View 5, Stansbury 2
» Desert Hills 8, Park City 2
» Juan Diego 3, Cedar City 2
» Grantsville 6, Carbon 1
Winners’ bracket semifinals
At Utah Valley University
» Pine View vs. Desert Hills, 11 a.m.
» Juan Diego vs. Grantsville, 1:30 p.m.
"People were saying, ‘Just go for strikeout.’ I was throwing for contact," said Nelson. "I mean, I trust my defense behind me and I knew they’d make the plays. It got a little rough closer to the end, but they still made the plays. I have to thank my defense behind me."
Beaver got on the board early on a controversial call. It looked as though Nelson had picked off a baserunner, but instead the umpire called a balk, which allowed a run to score. However, Nelson remained unfazed.
"He did a heck of a job," said Grand coach Jared Meador. "He stayed composed even though he had that balk called. You know, you pick a runner off, [but] they score a run of that. That was really good for him to keep his composure after that. I’m really proud of him and the kids played well behind him."
Grand would soon tie the game in the third and then blow the game open in the deciding fifth. Brayden Ward sacrificed Ronnie Dolphin over to third, and Dolphin scored as Beaver tried to throw Ward out at second. A few batters later, Taylor crushed a three-run homer to dead center.
"He’s had a home run every year in the playoffs, so we were just waiting," Meador said. "[It] was just a matter of time, you know; he’s just an animal at the plate."
From that point on, even as Beaver threatened in the seventh, it seemed as though Grand advancing to the 2A championship was inevitable.
"I felt confident after [Taylor’s home run]. I think I knew we had the win after that," said Nelson.
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