Murray • It’s still early in the 2013 baseball season, but two undefeated squads tested each other Tuesday afternoon in Murray with the host Spartans ending up victorious over Pleasant Grove, 7-3.
The big stick, and the big arm at the very end, belonged to senior Chase Topham as the Murray center fielder popped two opposite-field doubles as part of a five-RBI day.
“I just wanted to put it in the gap where nobody was,” Topham said.
Murray (3-0) broke through in the third inning for the first score of the game. A double by starting pitcher Cam Howe was followed by a single from Bo Shipley before a Zach Collins grounder deep in the shortstop hole led to the first run.
With runners at first and second, lefty-hitting Topham found the gap in left-center to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead.
One inning later, it was deja vu for both teams as Topham clubbed another two-run double to nearly the same spot. Murray’s Logan Jones then followed that with another double as the home team extended the lead.
In the sixth, this time with a more modest single up the middle, Topham drove in the Spartans’ seventh run of the day.
Pleasant Grove (5-1) got a run in the fourth when Jade Smoot singled in T.J. Wind, but the Vikings had trouble nearly the whole game drumming up offense against Howe.
The Murray starter allowed only three hits through six innings and struck out three straight batters in the sixth after giving up a leadoff single.
Howe’s only real trouble spot was in the seventh where he gave up a pair of runs and eventually gave the ball over to Topham — who closed out a bases-loaded situation by inducing a groundout from Wind.
“He’s a great pitcher and you’ll see this throughout the year,” said Topham of the teammate he relieved. “He [Howe] is a kid you really look up to out of all of us.”
The starting pitcher for Pleasant Grove, McKay Lewis, threw well through the first two innings before falling to some good hitting — and some bad luck.
One pitch before Topham banged his second double, with runners at first and second and two outs, he squibbed a ball down the third-base line that went foul only a foot before the Vikings Ty Stevenson could grab it and step on the bag for the third out.
“We had a couple of errors and we had a chance to turn two twice. When it didn’t happen, we needed to keep battling,” Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry said. “But that’s a good team that came out and responded to our errors.”
Storylines Murray 7, Pleasant Grove 3
R Center fielder Chase Topham hits two doubles and drives in five runs for the Spartans.