|Jan Jorgensen celebrates with teammates Eric Vigor, Garrett Schmitz and an unnamed player after he crossed home plate putting Carbon ahead of the Spartans for good in Fridays game at the Dinofield.|
It wasn't quite the season that the Carbon baseball team hoped for. They were hoping to equal last years undefeated record in preseason and region and to come out of the fray with another Region 8 crown.
Instead they had to settle for a little less luster; a little less shine on this years new car. With a big win over Emery on Friday afternoon at the Dinofield, a 12-7 come-from-behind win, and a victory by Lehi in Mount Pleasant (the Pioneers dumped the hapless Hawks 17-1) Carbon comes out with second place in the league.
That means on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. they face the Dixie Flyers here in Price for their first state game of the year.
But to get there they had to go through Emery who had everything to play for, while the Dinos were pretty much solidified in their second place position. And to begin the game Emery played like it.
In the first inning two home runs by the Spartans almost seemed to put the game out of reach for the Dinos. First Kent Stilson hit a home run with two players on base making the score 3-0. Then Seth Powell hit another homer with one Emery player on base and the score was 5-0.
The home teams crowd looked shocked. The home team looked shocked.
Troy Grundy, the young sophomore pitcher on the mound at the time, and who has had such a tremendous year, also looked a little rattled. But it was understandable. For various reasons Grundy had not pitched in a game in almost three weeks and the rust was showing through the paint.
But Grundy, and the rest of the Dinos also knew that they could get out the sand blaster, remove that old rust and put a bright shiny finish on the game in the end. And they did.
The Emery team and crowd were energized by that first inning and it took a little while for the Dinos to slow their train down and speed theirs up. Carbon did manage one run in their half of the first inning, making the score 5-1.
Again Emery scored in the second inning, but Grundy's pitching and some good play by the entire team kept another runaway inning from happening. However they still hadn't found their bats yet and didn't score a run in the second.
In the third the tide started to turn as the kids from Carbon held Emery once again to one run, despite the fact that they threatened to score more and were able to bring in one run themselves, making a 7-2 score.
Little did Emery know that Grundy had returned to his pre-layoff pitching prowess and they wouldn't put another runner across home for the rest of the game. It was now Carbon's turn to put the runs on the board.
The fourth inning was scoreless for both teams but everyone could feel Carbon's energy starting to build. Off in the distance a thunderstorm was gathering too.
As Emery took the field on defense, the stormy skies began to open up and it began to rain a little. Then it began to thunder and lightening and the game was delayed for a few minutes.
It was like that delay just pushed the Carbon batters over the top. Emery's pitcher complained that mud on the mound was keeping him from throwing the way he should, but even as it dried out the Carbon batters still had their way with him as they pounded in six runs in the fifth inning.
Emery changed pitchers twice, but it didn't do any good. Carbon scored four more runs in the sixth innings.
Combine that scoring with some good defense and any bid Emery had to catch up to the 12 runs Carbon had scored was squashed.
Most of the runs were scored on singles. The only multi-base hit Carbon got was a double from Blake Wilde. But with 16 hits, all the bats worked well.
Particularly good was catcher Zac Cloward who went 3-3.
So Carbon's run toward state has put them in the game on Friday. The home field advantage is even stronger playing this team because they have to travel so far to get to here. However, the Flyers 5-5 league record (12-8 overall) should not be taken lightly. Region 9 has been very balanced this year with Pine View and Snow Canyon tieing for the league championship with identical records of 7-3, while Hurricane and Cedar City rounded out the top four records with a 4-6 mark. Unlike Region 8 where the best teams are obvious, Region 9 teams have been beating each other up all season.
If the Dinos get past the Flyers they will then travel to Spanish Fork to play their first game of the on site tournament at 1:30 p.m. on May 9. At this point their probable opponent on that day will be Bear River, ranked second in the state with a 10-0 record. The Bears, whom Carbon played in a tough game last year at the state tournament in St. George, returned a strong team that ripped through Region 11 this year.
Once the tournament reaches Spanish Fork it becomes a double elimination tournament with a team able to lose one game anywhere along the way and still play for the championship.
However, Friday is not. The Dinos must win to advance.
It's do or die time.