Patience comes first.
The reward comes next.
Pleasant Grove worked Davis pitchers for four walks in the third inning then produced back-to-back home runs to push across six runs. The Vikings finished with a 9-2 victory in the second round of the Class 6A Tournament to advance to Monday’s quarterfinal round at Utah Valley University.
“We have a definite approach to hitting the baseball,” Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry said. “Our guys really buy into it. I think the key today was our discipline. Before we had that big inning we had four walks. That forced their pitcher to throw to our hitters and our hitters can do some damage.”
Leading 1-0 going into the bottom of the third inning PG’s Jordan Pace, Ty Barker, Brock Watkins and Jake Fryer all drew walks to force in a run and load the bases for senior Payton Norman.
“When Payton came up I didn’t even give him signs,” Henry said. “I smiled at him and he smiled back because we knew something good was going to happen there. He usually comes up big in those spots.”
Norman powered the ball deep over the left field fence for a grand slam home run and a 6-0 Vikings lead. Jackson Hill followed with a solo shot to almost the same place and Pleasant Grove took control at 7-0.
Watkins drove in two more runs in the fourth with his second double of the game for a 9-0 advantage.
Ernie Lugo pitched a complete game for the Vikings striking out six. He had plenty of support from his defense as well, including Noah Taylor’s tremendous diving catch at the warning track in the sixth.
“I saw it off the bat and I full on sprinted for it,” Taylor said. “We always say to go all out and get it for the team. It felt good. I kind of took a bad step to my left but I corrected myself. My left fielder (Hill) helped me out and told me where the wall was. I made a little dust fly up but it was good.
“We are brothers and we play well together. We feed off each other’s energy. When we get started no team can stop us.”
Henry said it was best catch he’d seen all year.
“Davis is a great-hitting team,” Henry added. “You saw a lot of barrels on balls. Our defense just took it personally to go after every ball. Noah was diving on the warning track with reckless abandon, and that’s just the kind of kid he is. We’ve had a bunch of great center fielders at Pleasant Grove, and he’s definitely one of them.”
Garrett Larsen had an RBI double for Davis (17-10), which will play Bingham on Friday in an elimination game.
Pleasant Grove (19-8) will fine tune thing before getting back to the tournament on Monday. The Vikings will play Region 4 foe Lone Peak, which knocked off Riverton on the road 8-4 in the second round.
Pleasant Grove beat the Knights two out of three during Region 4 play.
“We’re still climbing the mountain,” Henry said. “We’ll work on fundamentals and work on our hitting approach. We always go back to the things we’re good at. We’re good at working on fundamentals that are going to help us win games.”