Pleasant Grove’s domination of Lone Peak in the championship bracket of the 6A baseball tournament was complete and total.
Two Pleasant Grove pitchers teamed up for a no-hitter and PG got home runs from Ty Barker and Stockton Veenker in Tuesday’s 12-0 win at UCCU Ballpark to advance in the championship bracket.
The Vikings (20-8) move on to Wednesday’s matchup with Syracuse while Lone Peak falls into the elimination bracket. The Knights will play American Fork at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
PG starter Ernesto Lugo-Canchola walked five, hit two batters and allowed another runner after a passed ball third strike but otherwise overpowered Lone Peak in five innings of work, striking out six and getting out of bases-loaded jams in the first and the fifth. Dillon Trane pitched two hitless innings in relief to complete the no-hitter.
“I was struggling trying to do everything myself, so I just had to trust my defense behind me and pound the zone,” Lugo-Canchola said. “They’ve got my back.”
The Vikings started a tradition this season where a player who hits a home run celebrates with his teammates by dunking a mini-ball on a hand-held basketball hoop after he rounds the bases. Ty Barker did the honors in the first inning, blasting a ball over the left-field fence to give Pleasant Grove an early 1-0 lead.
The Vikings added two more in the third and three in the fourth, including a two-run single by Brock Watkins. Trailing 6-0, Lone Peak loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a hit batter, but Lugo-Canchola struck out Tate Holmes to keep the Knights off the board.
Pleasant Grove batted around in the top of the seventh, scoring six runs including a three-run homer by Stockton Veenker for a 12-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Trane got a fly out, a popup and a ground ball out to complete the no-hitter.
“I’m super proud of our team for coming out strong against our rivals,” Trane said. “They were talking crap and there’s no better feeling than beating a team that’s talking crap. It felt good coming out against Lone Peak and putting up a zero on them.”
Watkins and Veenker drove in three runs each for the Vikings, who drummed three Knights pitchers for 15 hits.
“Freeman has been a great pitcher all year,” Pleasant Grove coach Darin Henry said. “We knew he’d come right at us and our guys like to take on a challenge like that. We were anxious for the challenge and I’m glad the boys stepped up to the plate and really had some good, balanced swings.”
Pleasant Grove has outscored its three state tournament opponents 32-3.
“It’s something special,” Trane said. “I can see it every day at practice. We’re just being us, playing ball and having fun.”
AMERICAN FORK 11, HERRIMAN 1
The Cavemen stayed alive in the 6A tournament with a dominating win on Monday, pounding out 14 hits and getting a strong pitching performance from Connor Bulkley.
Bulkley allowed eight hits and just one earned run in a complete game victory. American Fork led 5-1 before breaking the game wide open in the seventh, scoring six runs.
Catcher Stockton Brems went 2 for 3 with three RBI for the Cavemen, with Travis Johnson and Jack Walker adding two RBI each. Dawson Parry had a solo home run.
American Fork (19-9) will play another elimination game on Tuesday against Lone Peak. The Cavemen won two of three against the Knights in Region 4 play.