Prep baseball: Espinoza boosts West past Viewmont
Bountiful • Character-building games come from trusting your teammates and trusting yourself to get out of a jam.
West senior pitcher Alex Espinoza did both in the Panthers' 7-3 victory over Viewmont.
Espinoza worked hitters with his fastball and curve to throw a complete game. He isn't overpowering, so he used pinpoint accuracy to force the Vikings to put the ball in play, then counted on his defense to make the outs.
"The guys had my back," Espinoza said. "With them behind me, I just threw pitches not blowing by them and have the guys make the plays."
Espinoza ran into trouble in the fifth inning. He loaded the bases on a hit and two walks, and time was called as Viewmont's Michael Steinicke strode to the plate. Espinoza's teammates offered their encouragement and told him to focus on making a pitch.
Espinoza took a deep breath, pulled his cap deep over his eyes and then retired Steinicke on four pitches to snuff out the threat.
"That's what a senior does," West coach Dan Shwam said. "We know when we come to somebody else's house, we can't roll over."
Shwam likes the momentum his team is building after sweeping Hunter in a three-game series before Wednesday's win.
"After beating Hunter and having two good days of practice, I like where we're going," Shwam said. "We swung the bat and put the ball in play nicely today."
The entire Panther lineup earned a hit, and Espinoza helped his cause with a double.
"We've nickeled-and-dimed teams in the past," Shwam said. "We were able to put the ball in play in big situations."
Mitch Imamura was pulled in the second inning as a precaution after beating a tag at the plate. He collided like a freight train with catcher Weston Sandberg, and Shwam wanted to make sure Imamura would be ready to pitch Thursday.
"He should be ready to pitch a great game for us [Thursday]," Shwam said.
Storylines West 7, Viewmont 3
R Every player in West's lineup collects a hit in the Panthers' region win.
• West moves to 4-3 in Region 2, while Viewmont drops to 3-4.