From the loser’s bracket to the 2A State Championship, the Emery Spartans won their second straight baseball title with a convincing 16-9 win over Region 15 foe Grand Tuesday at Utah Valley University.
“We had fun,” said head coach Steven Gordon with a chuckle. “We got hot at the right time.”
Hot is the perfect word to use for the Spartans hitting in the tournament. Emery scored 103 runs in its eight-game run to the title. Its lowest total came against Beaver May 3 in the first weekend of the tournament, in which the Spartans scored just three runs in their only loss of the tournament. Emery avenged the loss to the Beavers with a 13-6 thrashing in the first game on Tuesday at UVU.
With a picture of its championship ring from a year ago hanging in the dugout and with the word endure taped right next to it, Emery remained focused on winning another one. Alongside the ring, players also put up the number of games they needed to win for a chance to win a second-straight title. Win after win, the number kept on getting smaller.
“We were just focused,” Gordon said of his team. “The guys wanted it so bad. We had each other’s back.”
Because Grand represented the winner’s bracket, the Spartans had to beat them twice to repeat as champions. Mission accomplished. The Spartans outscored the Red Devils 28-12 in both games.
To get to Tuesday, Emery had to face Region 16 number one seed Manti and Region 13 number two seed Millard to advance. The Spartans gave up just one run in both contests, while scoring 21 of their own.
Last year, Emery won every game in the tournament en route to championship. This year, though, the loser’s bracket stood in the way.
“Winning a state championship is great, but to do it from the loser’s bracket……,” Gordon paused, “I just couldn’t be prouder.”
In an interview after the opening weekend split his team earned in Beaver, Gordon mentioned that Parowan got to the championship game a year ago from the loser’s bracket and that “maybe it will be us this year.”
Man, was he right.