The Carbon Dinos came up a bit short in the 3A Championship game Saturday night, losing to the Grantsville Cowboys 12-4. It had been 13 years since the Dinos last played for a state title.
It was a long road for the Dinos as they had to play three games spanning Friday and Saturday to earn a spot in the championship against the Cowboys, the team to which the Dinos lost in the quarterfinals on Thursday, 6-0.
Carbon took on the Union Cougars in the one-loss bracket in a game that was supposed to begin at 11 a.m. on Friday morning. Because of rainy conditions on Friday and Saturday, the tournament schedule had to be constantly updated to make sure all games were played. Union jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after the first inning of play of off starter Zac Bradley. Carbon scored a single run in the both the second and third innings before scoring five more in the fifth to take the 7-5 lead. The Cougars added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game up at seven. Cody Lowe then led off the bottom of the seventh with a double before scoring on an overthrow on a grounder by a Union Cougar a batter later, ending the game in walk off fashion.
The Dinos then faced off against the Richfield Wildcats in the Friday night’s nightcap. The Wildcats were fresh off a defeat of the Juab Wasps, 8-1. The game ended at nearly 11 p.m. because of rainy conditions threatening the tournament, pushing back start times. Despite the late start time, Carbon jumped out quickly and scored no less than three runs in the five innings played, winning the game 18-4. Cesar Laya went 3-4 in the game with an RBI. Lowe smashed a third inning home run and finished the game with five RBIs on a 2-4 showing at the plate. Nate Olson added three more RBIs with a triple and a single. Braxton Bennett also went 2-3 in the game.
Manti was up next for the Dinos, who lost to Grantsville in the semifinals the day before. The game was supposed to begin at 2 p.m. but was delayed until 3:20 p.m. because of rain. After not scoring in the first inning and having given up two runs to the Templars in the first inning, Carbon outscored Manti 14-4 the rest of the way for the big 14-6 win. Lowe nearly went the distance on the mound, throwing more than 100 pitches in the process. Lowe got the win and was spelled by Bennett in the bottom of the seventh inning after Lowe threw to his max pitch limit.
Facing an undefeated Grantsville team in the 3A title game, Carbon was looking for redemption, having been shut out by the Cowboys in the quarterfinals, 6-0. The Cowboys picked up where they left off in the latter stages of their game against Carbon in the quarters, scoring six runs in the first inning to jump out to a quick lead, shelling Dino starter Olson.
Carbon responded in the second, though, scoring three runs with two outs. Ty Anderson nailed a two-run triple and Anthony Jones singled in another run to cut the Cowboy lead in half.
Grantsville continued its onslaught in the second, tagging new pitcher Adrien Sanchez for four more runs to extend its lead to 10-3. The Cowboys had three hits in the inning and took advantage of an error that scored two runs.
After an empty inning by the Dinos in the third, Grantsville added two more runs for the 12-3 lead. Carbon then added their final run of the game in the fourth as Anderson knocked in Bradley for his third RBI of the game.
Carbon got two straight hits in the fifth as Olson and Bennett singled but were stranded on base as Bradley ended the inning with a strikeout.
Grantsville got Carbon in order in the top of the seventh to secure the state title.
Carbon finishes the season winners of 21 games compared to just 10 losses. Carbon strung together a season-high nine wins in a row from late March to mid-April. Carbon will lose nine seniors from this year’s team.