Before the season started, the Pleasant Grove baseball team watched the movie “Free Solo” together.
The movie is about rock climber Alex Honnold, who performed a free climb of El Capitan in 2017. It usually takes a rock climber up to two days to make the climb, but Honnold did it in four hours.
“We all had a special moment when we huddled together after the movie,” Pleasant Grove senior outfielder Payton Norman said. “We just said, ‘One step at a time, region champs and then state champions. Take one step at a time and we’ll get there.’ We want to be like him (Honnold), keep climbing and get all the way to the top.”
One of those steps was winning a region championship, and the Vikings took care of that with Tuesday’s 10-4 victory against Lone Peak. Pleasant Grove moved to 8-3 in Region 4 play with one game remaining. American Fork is 8-4 but the Vikings hold the tiebreaker after winning two of three against the Cavemen earlier this season.
“Playing in Region 4 tells you exactly who you are throughout the whole season,” PG coach Darrin Henry said. “I love playing in this region and our boys embrace it, too. It’s such a good region because there are so many quality teams in it.
“The last time we won a region championship was back-to-back (2014 and 2015) when we finished second and then first at state. We remind the guys about that. This means a lot.”
The Vikings led Lone Peak 2-1 after one inning and took advantage of three errors to plate four runs on just one hit in the second for a 6-1 advantage. Norman – who cranked out two double and two home runs in a 13-1 win against the Knights on Monday — knocked in two runs with a double for a 9-2 lead and came home on a passed ball for a 10-2 advantage in the fourth inning.
“The kids did a really good job,” Henry said. “It started with last week when Bingham came back on us and beat us. The next day was really important for our team to see if we would change our approach at the plate to get back to doing what we do and we sure did. We’ve done so much training in taking so many reps in batting practice in the gym during the winter and everything. Once we get to region we just need to relax and let our talent shine. When we do that, we seem to do all right.”
Brock Watkins and Jake Fryer had two hits apiece for Pleasant Grove, which moved to 17-7 overall. Fryer contributed four RBI and Cole Blackhurst pitched six innings to earn the win.
“We’re pretty confident,” Norman said. “We’ve worked hard for this. Ever since we were little kids Coach Henry has talked to us about winning region and state championships. Ever since probably we were playing 8U baseball we knew this would be our year that we could take it and we’re happy for it.”
Matt Barney had two hits for Lone Peak (4-7 Region 4, 12-11 overall).