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ST. GEORGE — Gunnison Valley's Tyler Harris connected for a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth-inning as the Bulldogs defeated the Richfield Wildcats, 6-4, and claimed the 2A state baseball championship Saturday afternoon at Bruce Hurst Field at Dixie State College.
Gunnison's Colby Coldwell picked up the win while Richfield's Tanner Monroe was tagged with the loss.
For Richfield, what a difference an inning made. Call it "hitting the wall," climate change in reverse, or cold fusion. After scoring four runs in the third inning on a barrage of singles to take a 4-0 lead, the Wildcats couldn't budge any more action from the plate, at one stretch surrendering six outs on only 11 pitches.
In the meantime, Gunnison (24-2) tied the game with a four-run burst in the bottom of the fourth behind only two hits, including a two-run single by Chase Christensen, leaving three stranded on base behind three Richfield walks and an error.
Neither team scored in a quick fifth-inning, but the Bulldogs again stranded two after receiving two more walks.
Six pitches later, Gunnison had retired the side and was again at the plate. The Wildcats quickly retired the first two Bulldog batters, but a two-out single by Ty Bartholomew, a walk to Kaz Mogle and a double-steal advanced the two runners into scoring position. Harris then connected for a deep two-run double and Gunnison went on to retire the side in the top of the seventh for the victory.
"It was good stuff," said Gunnison's head coach, Jared Anderson. "It is an unreal feeling."
Anderson had just given the boys a pep talk about Jackie Robinson's courage to win.
"They are not just teammates, but best friends," said Anderson. "They worked hard and played the game like it was meant to be played — with energy, effort, enthusiasm and courage."
Richfield's coach Dave Williams was visibly emotional while standing for pictures with seniors.
"We have been together with some of these boys since they were 8-years-old," said Williams. "We have had injuries and other issues, but after our loss to Beaver, we decided to make a run at it. We expected to be here."