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2A baseball: Defense pushes Gunnison past Emery

Gunnison's Colby Caldwell slide safe into home, beating Emery's Kaden Feichko to the play, during Gunnison's 2-0 win in the 2A State Baseball Tournament Friday, May 11, 2012 in St. George. Samantha Clemens / The Spectrum

By Kyle Goon

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published May 11 2012 09:56PM
Updated May 12, 2012 12:29AM

St. George • Rylan Anderson wasn’t throwing bullets, but his last pitch was just as good as his first.

Strike three.

The senior pumped his fist as his Gunnison teammates surrounded him, emotions flooding over as the Bulldogs realized they had clinched a berth in the Class 2A baseball championship. With a tight 2-0 victory against Emery on Friday afternoon at Dixie State, only one Saturday morning win separates Gunnison from its first title since 2008.

It took plenty of defensive prowess for the Bulldogs to hold Emery at bay, particularly because they only had three hits themselves.

Said Anderson: Whatever works.

"We were hitting the ball OK, we were just hitting it right to them," he said. "But it’s nice to pitch when you have a defense behind you like this one."

Gunnison managed the only offensive output of the game in the top of the second, scoring off Emery’s only error. Pitcher Geren Payne tried to make a play at third after a bunt, but the throw went long, scoring Tyler Harris.

Jarrett White batted in Colby Caldwell in the next at-bat to bring the score to 2-0. And there it stayed.

But Anderson didn’t need any more of a lead to do his work, frustrating the Spartans with his off-speed pitches. He finished with four strikeouts.

The defense was error-free in its execution behind him, showing a knack for picking off lead runners and even catching a few Emery runners trying to take extra bases.

"These guys did what they needed to do," coach Jared Anderson said. "Especially our two seniors — Rylan and Ty [Bartholomew] — they’ve led us all year. Rylan told me last night, ‘Give me the rock, coach.’"

Payne was solid, limiting the Bulldogs to only three hits, but still took the loss. The Spartans will play Richfield at 9 a.m. Saturday for another shot at Gunnison.

kgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon

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