Prep baseball: American Fork takes rubber game from Pleasant Grove

First Published      Last Updated Apr 12 2017 07:09 pm

American Fork • Having won the Class 5A state baseball championship the year before, you might not think that a series victory over a region rival would be that big of a deal.

Talk to players like Caveman senior Spencer Shelton and you'll find out pretty quickly that winning two out of three from Pleasant Grove still holds plenty of value.

In a matchup of the past two big schools champs, American Fork got three hits from Shelton and a 12-2 victory over the Vikings. The game ended as a result of the 10-run mercy rule when the Cavemen got four runs in the fifth inning.

"We won the first (12-11 on Monday), they won the second (5-1) yesterday, but we won the series," Shelton said. "It's really important. They swept us my sophomore year, last year they won the series, so it was really important for us to win the series this year."

Shelton kicked off an eight-run third inning for American Fork (10-4, 5-1 in Region 4) by sending a double to the fence in left-center.

Prior to that hit, Pleasant Grove pitcher Jake Jensen had given up other hity through the first two frames — also a double, by Ryan Hardman.

After Shelton's double, a couple of successful bunts — and one error — meant that pinch-runner Brayden Howard was able to cross home with the first run. But American Fork just kept on hitting. Hardman's second hit, a single, made the score 2-0 and that was followed by a double from Colton Carpenter to score two more runs.

By the end of the rally, Travis Johnson, Weston Flinders and Dawson Parry all stroked singles.

The final blow came from Shelton. His single to left scored two more runs for an 8-0 lead.

"I just wanted to put the ball in play, hit the ball on the ground or in the gap somewhere," Shelton said. "I was seeing it really good."

"He's been hitting the ball really well lately," said American Fork coach Jared Ingersoll of his eighth-place hitter in the lineup. "We need to find ways from one through nine to be productive and today we were productive."

Pleasant Grove (10-6, 6-3) got two back in the fourth as Kaino Pula, Porter Atwood and Ty Lewis all had hits against Hardman.

Hardman, the next inning, got into a little more trouble after a walk and a double by Pula. But the jam in the fifth, runners at second and third with one out, ended with a pickoff at second and Hardman getting a strikeout for the third out.

The game ended with yet more production from the bottom of the American Fork lineup as Parry, Shelton and McCoy all singled as part of the four-run rally.

"We squared up a lot of balls, but we just made too many mistakes to win the game," Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry said. "They're a great team and Region 4 is a great region. It's always a battle — this isn't our first battle or our last battle."




» American Fork collects eight runs in the third and four in the fifth to get the required 10-run margin to end the game after five.

» Senior catcher Spencer Shelton goes 3 for 3 for the Cavemen, including a double and a two-run single in the same inning (the third).

» Ryan Hardman allows seven hits over five innings of work, but allowed only two runs while striking out five.