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If you told Emery baseball coach Jim Jones at the first of the year that his team would finish with a 15-4 record, 7-1 league mark, Region 11 title and a No. 1 seed the the 3A state baseball tournament that begin today, he probably wouldn't have believed it.

"We're happy to be where we're at," Jones said. "At the first of the year we didn't think we'd be region champs and a No. 1 seed, but as the year has progressed we're turned into a pretty good team."The young Spartans, who start six and sometimes seven underclassmen, have finished second behind the Dixie Flyers in the 3A state championships the past two seasons, swing bats with Uintah (Region 10's No. 2 team) today in the opening round of the 3A state baseball double-elimination playoffs.

Emery is led by senior catcher Jason Hiatt, who is hitting a solid .500, while Gavin Huntington and Matt Justice anchor a deep pitching staff.

In other first-round action, two-time defending state and Region 9 champion Dixie (11-1) begins its title defense with Region 11 third-place team Carbon (4-4), while second-year Snow Canyon (8-4), Region 9's second-place team, hosts Region 11's second-place team Richfield (5-3).

In other home-site action today, Region 10 champion Union (7-1) hosts Region 9's No. 3 team Cedar (6-5), that defeated Wasatch 3-0 earlier in the week to earn the state tournament berth.

The tournament resumes Thursday at Bruce Hurst Field in St. George, with the championship game slated for Saturday, May 18.



3A baseball tourney

Saturday's games

Cedar at Union, noon

Uintah at Emery, noon

Richfield at Snow Canyon, 1 p.m.

Carbon at Dixie, 4 p.m.