The coronavirus has canceled plenty of summer celebrations, but the American Fork baseball team held their own hit parade on Wednesday afternoon against Bingham.
The Cavemen blew open a 1-1 game with an 8-run fifth inning, easing to a 15-1 victory over the Miners in the championship round of the Class 6A Last Chance Baseball Tournament at Pleasant Grove High School.
“Early in the tournament, we weren’t putting many quality at-bats together,” American Fork coach Jarod Ingersoll said. “The guys got determined in the box and put quality at-bats together. Things fell our way.”
The Cavemen moved on to the semifinals of the double elimination tournament and will host the Jordan-Riverton winner at 1 p.m. on Friday.
American Fork sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth inning and nine straight Cavemen got on base. Jack Walker knocked in two runs with bases-loaded single and Peyton Wilson, Kaden Carpenter, Easton Welling, Easton Jones and Spencer Clegg all had RBIs as AF pounded out seven hits in the inning for a 9-1 lead.
“We were just staying with our approach, staying up the middle, lining up and going for the kill,” Caveman junior Fisher Ingersoll said. “We’ve had a lot of time off. We’re just out here to have fun and live the moments.”
Those moments continued in the sixth when American Fork batted around again, plating six more runs on five more hits. Highlights included a two-run single by Jones, a two-run double by Brady Larsen and an RBI triple by Walker.
Three AF pitchers — starter Joe Wesemann and relievers Dalton Smith and Gabe White — scattered six hits and helped the Cavemen avenge a 9-3 loss to the Miners in pool play.
“Our pitchers have stepped up these past couple of games,” Jarod Ingersoll said. “They’ve been everything we’ve wanted them to be and more.”
Bingham starter Jonah Marshall struck out the first four batters he faced, but the fifth was Fisher Ingersoll, who timed a fastball and sent it over the right field wall just over the outstretch glove of the Miners right fielder for a 1-0 lead in the second.
Bingham tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI single from Maxton Peck and the game settled into a tight battle until American Fork’s eruption in the fifth.
“This isn’t the state tournament but it feels like tournament baseball,” Jarod Ingersoll said. “The experience our guys are getting, our younger kids, is invaluable. We’re hoping that pays off in the future. We have some good young kids. The seniors have done a great job leading in this playoff game kind of atmosphere and the younger kids are following the seniors. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
American Fork finished the game with 13 hits, 12 coming in the fifth and sixth innings.