Gunnison Bulldogs baseball team claims Region 15 crown

 

Matt Harris

Staff writer

5-4-2017

 

GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley Bulldogs are your Region 15 baseball champions.

Gunnison baseball claimed the crown in a tight race last week, posting two wins, 3-2 and 3-0, in a doubleheader against Emery to keep them just ahead of Grand County in region standings with a 9-1 region record, 19-3 overall.

“It is all about the players on the team,” head coach Jared Anderson said. “They have really worked hard and put in the time to put them in this great spot going into the state playoffs. It is a huge compliment to these players to win the Region 15 title outright in what is a very tough region with some outstanding teams and fantastic pitching. They really have come together at the right time.”

In addition to a region title, Gunnison is earning respect at the state level, ranked No. 1 in 2A by Deseret News (No. 2 by MaxPreps), and ranked No. 15 in the state.

Emery, the third-place team in Region 15, was no less of a contender than Grand this year. The Bulldogs had their hands full with the talented squad.

In the first game on Friday, April 28, Gunnison managed a 2-0 lead by the third inning in what turned out to be a magnificent pitching battle.

In the fourth and fifth innings, the Spartans fought back with two runs of their own to even the score. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, senior Jaden Mayne smacked away a single homerun, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good after the Gunnison defense held off Emery in the final inning at home.

Senior Drew Hill pitched the majority of the game, striking out Emery’s batters eight times, to only one allowed hit. He was countered by Emery’s pitcher, who tossed 10 strikeouts in the spectacle.

In the second game that day, Gunnison went on the road and absolutely stifled the Spartans with defense. Mayne pitched the entire game and notched eight strikeouts, only allowing six hits.

While still struggling on offense, thanks to nine strikeouts courtesy of Emery’s pitching game, senior Kyle Peterson saved the Bulldogs with two single homeruns, winning the game.

“It was Gunnison’s pitching doing what they have done all year in keeping Emery’s bats intact and the offense coming mainly from the long ball,” Anderson said.

Hill currently leads the state in homeruns with eight, while Mayne is 7-0 as a pitcher. The Bulldogs’ spectacular record and region title gives them the No. 1 seed heading into the 2A playoffs, which begin this weekend with Gunnison facing off against the No. 4 seed of the 2A North Division. While it is not yet confirmed, standings indicate the likelihood of a first-round matchup against North Summit. Game time is this Saturday at 10 a.m.

“We are very excited, but now it is a new season as we move into the playoffs,” Anderson said, “so we need to stay sharp and hungry for the ultimate goal in the end that all teams set out to accomplish. We feel we are a team that can compete for a state title but we know there are other real good teams out there.”