Hunter Larson has seen his team mature all season long and that process culminated last week as the Emmett Blue Devils won five consecutive games to win the District ‘A’ Legion Baseball title. A 14-2 win over Mountain View last Wednesday earned Emmett a top seed in this week’s State tournament in Burley.
Larson, in his first year as the Devil’s head coach, says its all areas of the game that have come together.
“Obviously we are pitching very well right now,” Larson said. “We have been hitting it very well of late and the fielding has been superb for the most part.”
In the West Division championship game against Fruitland last Monday Emmett recorded two double plays and five times threw out runners either from the catcher spot or a pitcher pickoff.
“We have come to rely on that sort of play,” Larson said.
The deep pitching staff was able to record a 12-9 win over Fruitland using three different hurlers. Larson can rely on a seven-deep pitching rotation if he needs to.
Gage Larson, the coach’s younger brother, fired a two-run, ten-strike-out gem against the East Division champion team from Mountain View to complete the sweep. Larson had posted a 5-0 shutout win in the tournament opener. Emmett took a slim 3-2 advantage into the fifth inning of the championship game but erupted for 11 runs, sparked by six consecutive bases loaded singles, and earned the 10-run rule win in five.
After opening the tournament with the 5-0 win over Owyhee, Emmett rallied to nip Middleton 5-4 and then Timmy Williams pitched a 2-0 shutout of Rocky Mountain to reach the West Division finals. Emmett has won nine of its last ten games heading to Burley.
The Blue Devils opened State tournament play on Monday in a double elimination format that could take five days to determine a champion. For Larson, it’s a little deja vu. He was a player on the last Emmett Legion team to make it State in 2012. The opening round foe is also familiar as his team will face Idaho Falls, the same team that beat Emmett twice in the State championship game during a four-year-run early this decade.