AMERICAN FORK — Baseball games are often highlighted by big hits made by specific individuals. But it’s often the most rewarding for the teams playing when all nine spots in the lineup are heavily involved.
For American Fork, during its 12-2 win over Pleasant Grove on Wednesday, the smiles were perhaps widest and the cheers loudest during the bottom of the third inning. The Cavemen sent 11 of its players to the plate in the game-defining inning, with eight of those crossing home plate for a commanding 8-0 lead.
“It builds up our team, builds up chemistry and just makes everyone just really happy,” said American Fork junior Isaac Garlick of the collective team effort.
Garlick contributed a single during that third inning shortly after Spencer Shelton started things off with a double. Eight players followed suit with hits until Shelton contributed a 2-RBI single to top off the scoring.
“We just put on a little pressure and guys executed,” said American Fork coach Jared Ingersoll of his team’s big inning. “Guys just putting good swing after good swing on it and giving the next guy a chance.”
The Vikings responded with two runs in the top of the fourth before appearing poised to close the gap further in the top of the fifth. Down 8-2 Pleasant Grove presented runners on second and third with just one out before American Fork pitcher Ryan Hardman buckled down to pick off the runner on second and then strike out the next batter to get out of the inning unscathed.
“He’s been solid for us,” Ingersoll said of Hardman, who went the distance on the mound for the Cavemen. “We enjoy it when he’s on the mound…because he’s a competitor. And when it gets tough out there he hunkers down and gets it done for us.”
Turns out going the distance on Wednesday meant pitching just six innings due to a 10-run advantage American Fork obtained in the bottom half of the sixth. Marty McCoy started the scoring with a 2-RBI single to extend the lead to 10-2 before Garlick followed up with another 2-RBI single to end things.
The American Fork players stormed the field to celebrate after taking a big Region 4 win while avenging Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Vikings
“After getting beat yesterday the guys set a goal to go out and win the series,” Ingersoll said. “So they came out and we were just selectively aggressive at the plate…I was proud of our offense today.”
American Fork won the first of a three-game set on Monday by the score of 12-11.
With the win, American Fork improves to 5-1 in Region 4 play while Pleasant Grove falls to 6-3.