Salem Hills • Out of ideas and with his father’s birthday just a day away, Brock Nelson had a problem.
What to give a dad who has everything?
State championship? He already has six of those.
A New York Yankees shirt? Put it in the drawer with the others.
But on Thursday afternoon the light went on for Nelson. He gave his father, Spanish Fork coach Jim Nelson the perfect gift.
Three hits, four RBIs and a 12-1, six-inning win over Salem Hills.
Happy birthday, Dad.
"I don’t ever know what to get him. I usually just let my mom decide," Nelson said. "We wanted to get a win, because we fell into a bit of a slump. So the talk before the game was for us to put the fun back into the game, and that’s what we tried to do today."
Nelson drove in three runs in the first inning to set the tone for the game. Bennett Bradford led off the game with a walk. After Salem Hills starter Porter Gustin came back to strikeout the next batter, Hayes Hall singled and Brady Bate walked to load the bases.
Nelson emptied the bases with a single to right-center. The Dons pushed across three more runs thanks to a pair of Salem Hills errors and a single from Cooper Thorpe.
Bradford put another candle on the birthday cake with an impressive performance on the mound. He pitched a complete game 2-hitter. The only run he allowed came in the second. He beaned Austin Hanks and after a Spanish Fork error set up what could have been a big inning, the Dons turned a 6-4-3 double play that allowed a run to score but killed the inning.
Spanish Fork added two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to end the game early.
After having its 54-game region winning streak snapped against Wasatch two weeks ago, the Dons had lost three of their next four games in a tournament in California and then dropped a 6-4 decision to Salem Hills on Tuesday before Spanish Fork returned to form and earned a split with the Skyhawks.
"We were a little bitter about the way we’ve been playing," Jim Nelson said. "Today we played like we did in the first 14 games of the season. That was a heck of a pitcher we faced today. It was a credit to our ball club."
The win helped Spanish Fork improve to stay on top of Region 8 at 6-2. Salem Hills dropped to 6-4.
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