Maybe it was the errors. Maybe it was the walks or the home runs, or it could have been the fact that Murray was busy batting around in the fourth inning that made East ace Aaron Dinkel mad.
Whatever it was, something clicked inside Dinkel, who finally settled down and allowed just one hit in the final three innings to help East hang on for a 9-7 win over Murray in Monday's opening round game of the 4A state tournament."He (Dinkel) was flying a little too high at first. I didn't think he was going to be able to finish it," said East coach Steve Margetts. "His pitch count was 101 in the fourth inning, but he settled in and pitched well the rest of the game."
Dinkel had given up seven runs, five hits and eight walks through four innings.
But East got a lift from the hot bat of Austin Stowe, who went 3-for-4, with two home runs and four RBI.
Stowe hit a solo home run in the third, a two-run blast in the fourth and singled in an insurance run in the sixth. "One thing we've done well this year is when our starters haven't had a good game, we've had others come through for us," Margetts added.
East took a 1-0 lead in the first on a solo homer from Craig Sorensen, but Murray took control of the game with three runs in the second on a single and error, a walk and a two-run home run from Murray catcher Casey Davies.
The Spartans added to their lead with a solo home run from Murray starter Jeremy Robertson in the third, but East tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Murray nearly chased Dinkel in the fourth with three runs. Mike Brady started off the inning with a walk. Davies then singled. Jared Johnson followed with an RBI single to right that moved Davies to third. Johnson then stole second and both runners scored when Robertson reached base on an error.
After Dinkel walked two more Spartans to load the bases, but he got out of the jam by firing three straight fastball past Murray's Jesse Bullock.
The Leopards answered with three runs in their half of the fourth, and took the lead for good when Dinkel led off the fifth with a double and scored on a single from Jared Pendley.
"Tooele, Spanish Fork and Murray - that's who we've beaten the last three games," Margetts said. "We're playing really well right now. We're in good shape."
In other action:
Olympus 8, Bear River 6: A week after knocking off top-ranked Springville, Olympus continued its post-season surprises with an 8-6 win over Bear River.
The Titans trialed 6-1 after four innings but erupted for five runs in the fifth to tie the score. Chad Cannon's two-run triple knotted the score at six. Olympus added two more runs in the sixth to take the lead for good.
Cannon picked up the win in relief of starter Resh Jeffries.
Tooele 10, Mtn. Crest 4: Starting picther Charlie Lawless helped his own cause by going 4-for-4 and driving in two runs as Tooele cruised to a 10-4 win over Mountain Crest.
Lawless went the distance and gave up seven hits and three walks, while striking out 10.
Provo 10, Box Elder 8: Provo opened the 4A state touranment by holding off Box Elder 10-8.
Bryce Barnes had three of Provo's 11 hits and Zack Ellison drove in four runs for the Bulldogs.
Both teams committed four errors.
Box Elder was paced by Nicky Udy, who went 2-for-4, homered and drove in three runs.