Spanish Fork • Since 2009, only three in-state teams have beaten Spanish Fork.
Only one has beaten the Dons more than once in that period — and Bingham seems eager to keep up that streak.
The Miners (4-1) topped the nationally ranked Dons (9-1) on their own field, shutting down the Spanish Fork bats in a 4-0 contest dominated by pitching. A few clutch hits in the late innings were enough for Bingham to notch its third win in as many years in the rivalry between two of the state’s most perennially successful baseball programs.
Both coaches call the annual contest “friendly,” but with at least a dozen Major League Baseball scouts in attendance this year, the stakes were undeniably high. Connor Williams came through for Bingham with a seven-strikeout performance in the mound, as well as two RBI hits at the plate.
“They don’t start counting until we get to region, but it’s a big win for us,” Williams said. “I came out a little tight, and but I tried not to focus too much on [the scouts].”
The game was scoreless through the fifth inning, when Brennon Lund scored on a base hit by Josh Sandquist. Williams followed up with an RBI double to give the Miners a 2-0 lead.
Williams also was clutch in the seventh inning, knocking in Sandquist on an RBI triple on a full count. He was hit home in the next at-bat as Jacob Druce managed to get a single off reliever Hayden Nielsen.
All of Bingham’s runs came with two outs.
“We tried to be about process today and to get good at-bats,” coach Joe Sato said. “Those guys extending their at-bats for us was huge.”
Spanish Fork couldn’t find any similar success against Bingham’s pitching unit, hardly driving any balls into the outfield all afternoon. Williams struggled with control initially, walking seven batters, but he recovered and got defensive help. Reliever Parker Green didn’t throw as hard as Williams, but he breezed through the top of the Dons’ order.
By the time Bingham ace Brady Lail came in to close, the game was all but wrapped. Lail retired the only three batters he faced, leaving the Spanish Fork offense with only two hits and its first scoreless effort since 2008.
Brady Corless had a solid start, striking out six in his five innings of work. But the lack of run support doomed the Dons, who suffered their first loss of the season and likely will tumble from the top 5 of the several national polls that have them ranked.
“I’ve never said we’ve been deserving of that ranking, and Bingham showed us that even if we’re ranked, it’s not like we won’t lose,” coach Jim Nelson said. “My hats go off to them. They were better than us today. … Their studs were studs.”