Orem • The self-proclaimed underdogs did it. It was not always pretty, it took the Grantsville Cowboys two games, and they scored runs in only two innings all day, but they defeated Desert Hills 8-7 on Saturday to win the Class 3A baseball championship with their loyal fans by their side.
"Half the community’s here and they’re going nuts," Grantsville coach Loren Anderson said. "We’re not supposed to be here, and we found a way to get here, got a good draw and started playing some good baseball. We just hang around, hang around, and it’s just a credit to the kids’ character."
Grantsville 8, Desert Hills 7Grantsville win the 3A baseball championship on the school’s 100th anniversary.
» Grantsville’s Clay Matthews goes 4 for 8 in Saturday’s two games, with five RBIs.
» Desert Hills finishes as the runner-up for the second consecutive season.
After losing the first game to Desert Hills 13-8, Grantsville buckled down as its ace, Wyatt Barrus, took the mound.
"I think we didn’t have a lot pitching [wise], so I knew I had to go the whole distance," Barrus said. "It’s no easy feat against those guys, that’s for sure."
With Desert Hills up by one in the bottom of the fourth, Wyatt Smith was called out on strikes, but the call was reversed to a hit-by pitch. Then the floodgates opened.
Clay Matthews soon stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Anderson was looking for a bunt, but Matthews had other ideas.
"I’m known as the ‘sacrifice guy.’ I just wanted one swing, you know, and I put some air under it and I connected real good," Matthews said.
And connect he did, drilling a grand slam to the left field berm.
"I said, ‘OK, you’ve got one swing. Go swing it.’ That was one hell of a swing," Anderson said.
Matthews’ homer sparked an eight-run inning, giving the Cowboys what looked like a cozy lead. However, they would then survive a controversial home run call and a six-run rally by the Thunder as they laid claim to the 3A crown.
"It feels numb, is how it feels," Anderson said. "I don’t even know what I’m feeling. It’s just an amazing group of kids, as you can see."
"It means a lot to this community," Barrus said. "We have generations on generations of baseball players here. You know, it means a lot. It’s a small town."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.