Written by: Hayden Johnson
Emery Spartan baseball started the new season strong, notching two quality road wins in Gunnison and then Manti. Though Emery’s season opener came on a cold rainy day in Gunnison, the Spartans were able to brave the weather and use a big first inning to get an 8-2 win.
The next day, Emery again played an away game, this time in Manti to face off against the Templars. Despite neither team scoring until the fifth inning, the Spartans got hot and were able to overpower Manti and get a 9-1 win.
“We’re grateful to start off the season with a couple wins to get things started right,” Tyson Roper said. “Strong pitching backed up with a solid defense and good at-bats have helped us to get wins against two great opponents.”
In the season opener against Gunnison, Emery didn’t waste any time and hit the ground running. In the first inning, the Spartans put six runs on the board, thanks to a solid one through nine line-up. Emery kept all but one of its starters from last year’s championship season and has many good hitters, as it showcased in its first inning of the season. The Spartans were able to ride their first inning and never let Gunnison back into the ballgame.
Ridge Nielson had a good game hitting and fielding. Nielson got on base three times, went two for three at the plate with two singles, and in the field he led the team with four assists. “It’s great to get off to a good start early in the season,” Nielson said. “We can find what we need to work on more and we’re solid as a team. We feed off each other’s energy. We were able to build momentum throughout the games to play well and win.”
Newcomer to the team Braden Burke started the game on the mound and pitched a nice four innings with five strikeouts. Tanner Lake led the team in RBIs with two.
In the second game of the back-to-back Emery was up against Manti. The Spartans struggled to get runners home; they had 16 at bats with runners in scoring positions but only got hits on seven of those at bats. Most of those hits came in the fifth and sixth innings when Emery exploded for nine runs. The Templars were unable to keep pace and were left behind as the Spartans cruised to the win.
Pitching was great for Emery. Dillon Wilstead started off hot and pitched a solid three innings in which he had five strikeouts, a pick-off, and only allowed two hits. Tyson Roper came in in the fourth inning and also pitched extremely well with seven strikeouts, a pick-off, and also only two hits allowed.
Tanner Lake was great on the plate where he went three for three with an RBI and two runs. Braden Burke also hit well where he went two for two with a couple of singles, and Gavin McDermott hit the first triple of the season with bases loaded to give him three RBIs for the game.
“It’s great to come out of the gate playing strong and get our confidence built up early. Hopefully it carries through the rest of the season,” McDermott said.
Emery will look to stay hot as it faces off against South Sevier in another away game before heading to a tournament in Montrose.