Down 7-3 in the top of the sixth inning, Cottonwood was knocking on the door. The Colts had loaded the bases with no outs and chased Bingham starting pitcher Peyton Jones.
Junior right-hander Ethan Fowlks took over on the mound, tasked with getting three outs to keep the Miners’ perfect record in Region 3 play.
Fowlks took the ball from Jones and promptly sat down the next three batters, sending them back to the dugout swinging.
“I felt like I was hitting my spots perfectly. I just got in there and I was really consistent, really feeling good,” Fowlks said.
Fowlks showed off his breaking ball and curveball, but his fastball stole the show. Fowlks’ heater was overpowering for the Colts.
His manager, longtime Bingham coach Joey Sato, heaped praise upon Fowlks’ composure in a high-pressure situation.
“He came in, bases loaded, and punches out three guys. That’s quite a good thing for a young man,” Sato said. “We’re really happy for him. He competes well and has bought into what we ask him to do, and the results are showing.”
On offense, Bingham was powered by the bottom of its batting order. The Miners’ six, seven, eight and nine hitters all made valuable contributions to help Bingham knock off Cottonwood. Senior Copper Hansen went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk and two runs scored. Jones chipped in a single, a double, scored twice and had a run batted in. Junior Noah Wallick scored twice, and junior Brandon Thomas went 2-for-3 from the plate with a single, a triple, one run scored and four runs batted in.
Traditionally, the bottom of the lineup is where teams place their least potent hitters, but that is not the case for Bingham.
“That’s usually where people think they have an easy time. Our bottom guys — Payton, Noah and, today, Brandon Thomas, have been really big for us in other game that we’ve won,” Sato said. “They’ve either been able to continue the rally or drive in a key run. Today, that was huge for us.”
Cottonwood started off the game hot, scoring three runs in the first and second innings on a pair of Bingham errors and a Hunter Blunt RBI single.
The Miners responded in the bottom of the second inning, scoring four runs in the frame. Hansen and Jones scored on an error by the Colts to bring in the first two runs, then Wallick was knocked home after Chad Wilson reached on another Cottonwood error. A Simon Tait ground-out brought Thomas home to give Bingham its first lead of the game, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the contest.
“We got fortunate and took advantage of a couple of breaks. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good,” Sato said. “We had one bounce at second base where they (Cottonwood) could have easily turned a double play. Against a really good ballclub like that, a good program, you have to be lucky a lot of times in order to be successful.”