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Prep baseball: Grant’s arm, bat help Davis overpower Farmington in 6A tourney

By BOB JUDSON - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 17, 2024
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Davis High's Wally Grant throws a pitch against Farmington in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Farmington's Caleb Hadley runs the bases against Davis in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Davis High's Kaleb Weaver fouls off a Farmington pitch in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Davis High's Kaleb Weaver (5) slaps hands with teammate Owen Talbot (1) after scoring a run against Farmington in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Farmington's Easton Wight secures a catch against Davis in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Davis High's Tyson Baggett looks home as he runs the bases against Farmington in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Davis High's Jaxon Marble slides into a base against Farmington in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Farmington's Landon Leavitt readies to swing at a Davis pitch in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Farmington's Austin Rees ranges under a Davis fly ball in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.
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Davis High's Kaleb Weaver runs the bases in a 6A playoff game Friday, May 17, 2024, in Kaysville.

KAYSVILLE — Davis starting pitcher Wally Grant had a no-hitter for five innings and was a big part of it.

Senior Dart teammate Max Hunter clubbed four hits and three RBIs, playing a major role.

In the end, what mattered most to the No. 2 Darts is that they advanced to the quarterfinals of the boys high school 6A baseball tournament at BYU next week with a 5-3 victory over No. 15 Farmington on Friday afternoon.

“It’s always the win; stats don’t matter. It’s only the win column that matters,” Grant said. “I pitched to contact and let my fielders back me up and do their thing. I trust them.”

For the fifth time in five games, the Darts beat Farmington — three times in Region 1 action and twice in the playoffs in a best-of-three format.

“It’s hard to play five games and beat them all five times. We pulled out five wins and that’s all that matters,” Grant said.

Davis (22-5) got off to an early start in the first inning when Hunter smashed a long, curving double down the left-field line, scoring Grant who had doubled previously, for a 1-0 lead.

“We knew we were the better team, but you can’t let them hang around. We play in the same region — they know you, we know them — so you have to jump on them and not give them any room to come back,” Hunter said. “That’s what I was thinking going up there. … I had to put a ball in play and it exploded off my barrel.”

Hunter led off the third inning with another double to almost the same spot and came around to score on a delayed steal as the Darts doubled their lead to 2-0.

Kaleb Weaver drew a one-out walk in the fourth, and after another Grant hit, Hunter only needed a single to score the run for what looked like an insurmountable 3-0 advantage for the Darts.

“We had a sense of calmness, knowing we had Wally on the mound and that he was going to hold them,” Hunter said. “All we had to do was get a couple of runs and he would shut it down; that’s exactly what he did.”

Grant sailed through five innings of no-hit ball, then the dreaded jinx happened when Davis head coach Josh Godfrey’s father mentioned it to Grant in the bottom of the fifth and it was over.

Facing a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth instead of the No. 9 batter for the second time through the order, Lincoln Green lined a single to right for the Phoenix and the no-no was gone.

“The pinch hitter put a good swing on the ball and that’s what happens,” Grant said.

Farmington (11-18) got a run on a groundout by Max Pearson, making it 3-1, and Grant exited after 5 2/3 innings. He finished with five strikeouts, four walks and the one hit.

“I had my fastball, my curveball and my changeup; coach (Grant) Huish made some good pitching calls and I followed his lead and tried to execute what he called,” Grant said.

Davis added a pair of what seemed like insurance runs in the sixth inning on RBI singles by Grant and Hunter, making it a comfortable 5-1 with three outs to go.

If it seems like Grant was active in the circle and the box, he was — with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI in addition to his pitching prowess.

Hunter’s game included going 4 for 4 at the plate, the two long doubles, three RBIs in three separate at bats and a run scored in his emotional final appearance on home turf.

“I let my hands do the work, The biggest motivating factor behind today’s game was it’s the last time I’m ever going to play on this field,” Hunter said. “The thought was just leave it all out there. This place is pretty special to me; I’ve been here for three years. Nothing better than to go out with four hits.”

But the underdog Phoenix weren’t quite ready to toss in the towel, as they scored two runs in the seventh on a groundout and an error before Croydon Christensen got a strikeout to end it for the Darts.

“They’ve got nothing to lose; they want to feed off of your energy,” Hunter said. “It’s March Madness bracket play. That’s the nature of baseball and sports in general.”

The Darts next play the winner of the Skyridge/Corner Canyon series at 11 a.m. Monday at BYU.

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