It was a little unconventional but it worked.
American Fork pitcher Craig Brailsford found himself in a bit of a pickle during the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against Lone Peak.
The Knights had cut the Cavemen’s lead to 4-1, and had runners on second and third with no outs, when Brailsford got himself out of the inning in a most unusual way. His pitch trickled off the glove of catcher Andrew Bartholomew but the ball only rolled halfway to the backstop.
Lone Peak’s Hunter Christensen took off for home but Bartholomew tracked down the ball and threw it to Brailsford, who tagged Christensen out at home.
It proved to be the turning point in American Fork’s 7-1 win.
Brailsford then got out of the inning with a strikeout and a ground out. Lone Peak was never the same.
"That was a huge play. Our defense had to step up a little bit. Our pitcher did a good job of covering and Bart did a good job of getting the ball back to him as well," American Fork coach Jarod Ingersoll said. "Our offense did a good job. We had good quality at-bats up and down the lineup. I was proud of them."
American Fork scored a run in the first and added two more in the fourth inning. Logan Flinders led off the inning with a single. He moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third after Hagen Holmstead laid down a sacrifice bunt — one of six Cavemen bunts on the day. The inning continued with a Riley Winter single and a triple from Emmett Green.
American Fork tacked on a run in the fifth on a Flinders sacrifice fly that pushed the lead to 4-0.
Brailsford had allowed just two hits through the first five innings but began to tire in the sixth. He walked Chandler Goeckertiz to start the inning and then gave up a hit to Christensen. Grant Lyman then split the left-center field gap with an RBI that cut the lead to 4-1, but that’s when things fell apart for the Knights.
"The moment you see a ball kick back in your mind you want to make something happen. That’s the type of kid Hunter is, he makes things happen, unfortunately it didn’t work out for us," Lone Peak coach Matt Bezzant said.
Christensen had two of Lone Peak’s four hits. Koy Dibb and Green each had two hits for the Cavemen.
The win helped American Fork improve to 7-1 in Region 4 play, while Lone Peak dropped to 6-2. The Cavemen will try for a sweep of their three-game series when the two teams play again Friday.
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