Prep Baseball Report

Utah Games of the Week (May 3-8)

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Utah Games of the Week

#1 Pleasant Grove 19-0 vs #2 American Fork 18-0

I ventured north to catch the much anticipated matchup between Region 4 and 6A powerhouses, the Pleasant Grove Vikings and the American Fork Caveman. Both teams were sitting at 12-0 and 11-0 respectively a couple of weeks ago, and all you had to do was look a few weeks ahead on the schedule and know that only one team in the state could run the table or no one at all, when noticing the impending matchup. My hope was that both would run the table for those two weeks, setting up a classic of unbeaten teams going at it, and I even put it out on Twitter, that this would be a great scenario. Well that’s exact what transpired. Pleasant Grove ran their record to 19-0 as well as American Fork doing the same to get to 18-0, making for a wild if not spectacular 3 game series, with 2 of the 3 games played at Viking Field in Pleasant Grove. With the strength of these two teams on paper, as well as their records and rivalry, it was almost certain that the odds were in favor of someone taking the series at 2 games to 1, thus eliminating the undefeated season for both teams. Well that is exactly what happened, with American Fork taking the first 2 games of the series and Pleasant Grove taking the final game at home, to avoid the sweep. 

GAME 1 @ Pleasant Grove

With all 3 bleachers up top at capacity, as well as lawn chairs down below, lining the backstop, the only place left for fans was the bullpen and cage area down the RF line and the grassy berm on the third base side for fans to watch and both were nearly packed. With the music blaring and fans also standing between bleachers, the atmosphere was that of a mini state title game of sorts. 

Pleasant Grove started senior RHP-Kyler Lester (BYU commit) and his 87-91 mph FB vs American Fork RHP-Dalton Smith (SLCC commit) and his mid-80’s FB. Both pitchers were tasked with stopping offenses on opposing sides that came into the game, both hitting above the .380 mark as teams. The game started with nerves and hitters being aggressive and getting behind in counts and hitters that have made their marks this season with very few K outs, were over swinging at pitches and the defenses’ were lock-in going into the top of the 3rd without a run on the scoreboard. 

3rd Inning 

The game shifted in that half of the inning, when the Caveman were able to plate 4 runs and take a commanding lead at 4-0, thanks to #9 hitter RF-Dax Newman getting things started with a bullet single to LF and advancing to second on a fielder's choice, setting the table for the meat of the Caveman order. Junior SS-Fisher Ingersoll (BYU commit) lashed a hard hit single to left, scoring Newman and the score was now 1-0. Junior 3B-Easton Jones, the son of former UVU and ASU All-American and major leaguer, Mitch Jones, hit a long fly ball to CF, allowing Ingersoll to advance to 3rd. Hulking 6-5 215 lb junior CF-Kaden Karpenter lined a hard hit single to left to make the score 2-0, scoring Ingersoll. Robinson, who was on second, then scored the 3rd run of the game on a throwing error by the pitcher, Lester. C-Josh Rojas singles on a line drive to LF to plate Carpenter and finishes off the scoring and gives the Caveman the 4-0 lead. 

4th Inning 

LF-Easton Welling leads off the inning with a single that he beats out to the shortstop and after a fly ball out to CF, Dax Newman extends the lead to 6-0 Cavemen with a high drive to left field that gets out for a 2-run HR and the Cavemen now have a commanding lead and aren’t looking back. Ryder Robinson walks and goes to second on an Ingersoll HBP that puts runners on 1st and 2nd. Easton Jones comes to the plate and hits a hard ground ball single through the SS hole and is not enough to score Robinson, as the Cavemen now have the bases loaded with one out. Kaden Carpenter comes up and just misses his pitch, and hits a high fly ball to deep CF, for a sac fly that scores Robinson, that makes it 7-0. The next batter is retired and we go to the 5th inning where things start right back up for the Cavemen. 

5th Inning 

Spencer Clegg leads off the inning with a scorching 2B into the right field corner and American Fork is back in business. Easton Welling then hits a soft liner to CF and Clegg moves to 3rd, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. 1B-Easton Whittaker then doubles into the LCF gap scoring Clegg and Welling and the Cavemen are now up 9-0. Dax Newman who has homered in his previous AB, then shoots a ball high and deep into the LCF gap for a 2B. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Ryder Robinson singles on a ground ball to CF and the relay home is not in time and the Cavemen take a 10-0 lead and all that is needed is to shut the door in the bottom half of the inning to preserve the 10 run cushion. Starting pitcher, Dalton Smith after plunking the leadoff hitter, retires the next 3 batters in order and the Cavemen take the first game of the series, by the 10 run rule and take down the number one team in the state. With the victory American Fork stands at 19-0 and Pleasant Grove suffers their first defeat and goes to 19-1. 

Game 2 @ American Fork

The crosstown rivalry now shifts to American Fork and with another crowded ballpark and all the support mostly on the Cavemen side, along with the mountainous backdrop of the ballpark, American Fork has momentum heading into game 2 and with Dax Newman on the mound and pitching very well in region play vs the Vikings starting pitcher, Riley Thomas, one would expect a low scoring affair. Going into the bottom half of the 2nd inning, there was no score and the Cavemen went to work. 

2nd Inning 

The scoring starts off with a bang as big Kaden Carpenter comes to the plate and takes a FB on the outer third of the plate and hits a missile on a line over the left field wall for a solo HR and the Cavemen are on the board with a 1-0 lead. C-Josh Rojas is hit by a pitch and Spencer Clegg hits a hard ground ball single through the right side and the runner advances to 3rd and the Cavemen now have runners on the corners with nobody out. LF-Easton Welling steps to the plate and hits the first pitch he sees high and deep to LF, for a big 3-run HR to out the home crowd into a frenzy and now the score is 4-0 Cavemen. 

4th Inning 

Easton Welling is hit by a pitch and takes first, then Easton Whittaker singles up the middle and Welling races to 3rd and an errant throw from center, scores Welling and the lead is now 5-0 American Fork. 

7th Inning 

Pleasant Grove finally awakes after being shut out for the previous 11 innings, going into the top of the 7th. DH-Sam Haynie walks to lead off the inning, Tate Lewis grounds into a double play and it now looks as if another shutout is on the horizon. Ty Caldwell steps to the plate with 2 outs and doubles to RCF. Carter Merrill is hit by a pitch and the Vikings have runners on 1st and 2nd. Leadoff hitter Kyler Lester singles on a line to LF and scores Caldwell to get Pleasant Grove on the board at 5-1. RF-Ryker Schow inside outs a ball and flairs it into shallow right, and Merrill scores without a throw and now the lead has been cut to 5-2. C-Ty Johnsen (Gonzaga commit) walks and the next hitter 3B-Jordan Pace flies out to CF-Kaden Carpenter who squeezes the fly ball with two hands and American Fork comes away with the 5-2 victory. Cavemen starting pitcher, RHP-Dax Newman scattered 6 hits over 6 scoreless frames with 1 walk and 5 K outs, to keep his run of good pitching intact. With the loss, Pleasant Grove falls to 19-2 and American Fork keeps their unbeaten season alive and moves to 20-0.