Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
AMERICAN FORK – It’s not often that a pitcher has a chance to get right back out on the mound after taking a tough loss, but Thursday at American Fork, that’s just what happened for Lone Peak’s Seth Corry.
After the left-hander gave up a game-winning single in the home half of the seventh during the completion of a suspended game from Tuesday, he went the distance in the regularly-scheduled full game, tossing a three-hitter at the Cavemen in an 11-1 Lone Peak victory. Corry was not sharp on a cold, blustery day, but he was able to make big pitches in the right spots as he pitched the Knights to a big Region 4 win.
With both teams trying to stay within shouting distance of unbeaten league-leading Pleasant Grove, this week’s three-game series took on a whole new look with Tuesday’s suspension due to the inclement weather. After dropping the first game of the set, Lone Peak really needed a fast start in the nightcap, and that’s exactly what it got.
Tyler Thompson scored a run in the top of the first inning after reaching on a one-out walk. A single by Chandler Goeckeritz moved him to second, and then the Knights caught a break when a wild pitch advanced both runners 90 feet. That put Thompson in position to score on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Tate Hansen.
The Cavemen tried to answer in the home half of the inning, as Corry was overpowering, while struggling with his control. A walk, a hit batter and a Dallin Searle sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with two outs before Corry got the inning-ending strikeout.
Corry singled home a run with two outs in the Lone Peak second to increase the advantage, and then the Knights took advantage of a series of uncharacteristic American Fork mistakes to make it 5-0 in the third.
After Turner Knight set down the first two Lone Peak batters in the inning, he walked Brooks Goeckeritz and then hit Keenan Kelshaw and Nick Larsen back-to-back to load the bases. Goeckeritz scored on a wild pitch, and after Kelshaw took a wide turn around third, the Cavemen tried to throw in behind him for an out. The ball bounced past third base and down the left-field line, allowing both Kelshaw and Larsen to score and giving Lone Peak three runs in the inning all without the benefit of a hit.
Corry gave up the first American Fork hit of the contest in the bottom of the third, but pitched out of a tight spot with yet another big strikeout, allowing the Knights to blow the game open in the top half of the fourth.
The pitcher played a part in a second consecutive three-run stanza, scoring the first run after reaching on an infield single. A Thompson double followed by a one-out intentional walk to Hansen jammed the bags, and when the Cavemen only got the first out on a potential double-play grounder, Corry raced home. That also opened the door for Kelshaw, who ripped a two-run two-bagger down the left field line.
A Turner Knight double and a sacrifice fly from Mick Madsen got American Fork on the scoreboard in its half of the fifth, but the Knights had the answer, in the form of a third three-run inning. That came in the top of the sixth, as Hansen drilled a two-run home run before Matt Lee chased home another tally with a one-out single.
That 11-1 lead put Lone Peak in position to end the game after six innings by invoking the 10-run mercy rule, but it didn’t come easily. Searle reached on a throwing error by Corry, but he was gunned down at the plate after hesitating around third on a Tyler Gardner double. The Cavemen got the run that would have extended the game to third, but a strikeout and a fly ball to center field ended the threat and made a winner of the Knights and Corry.
Suspended Game Completion
Corry struck out seven and allowed just three hits in picking up the win. He also walked five and hit two batters as he struggled particularly with getting his off-speed pitches into the zone, but the combination of double plays and big strikeouts got him out of trouble. He had come in to pitch the home half of the seventh in the completion of the suspended game, after Lone Peak tied the game in the top of the inning.
That game was resumed in the top of the fifth, with American Fork on top 2-1. That score remained as Jake Norton of the Cavemen and Matt Lee for the Knights put up zeroes on the mound in the fifth and sixth stanzas.
Lone Peak managed to get the tying run home in the seventh as a Larsen double and a Lee single put runners at the corners with one out. Trent Whitaker hit a hot shot at third base that looked like a potential game-ending double play, but the ball hit off the glove of Madsen at third and bounced to shortstop Kody Hall, who was only able to get one out, at second base, with Larsen racing across home plate on the play.
The Knights turned to Corry to hold the game in the American Fork seventh, but a walk and a passed ball, followed by an intentional walk put runners at first and second with no one out. Hall dropped a perfect bunt toward third base, intending to move the runners, but it did better than that, as the shortstop reached with bunt single to load the bases.
After Corry got one out by way of a strikeout, Hagen Holmstead bounced one over the pitcher’s head and through the drawn-in infield into center field to chase home Turner Knight with the game-winner in a 3-2 Caveman win.
The split leaves Lone Peak (6-2 in Region 4, 10-4 overall) and American Fork (7-4, 13-5) both needing a win in the rubber match of the series, set for 4 p.m. Friday at Lone Peak. Thursday’s defeat was the first of the season for the Cavemen to someone other than Pleasant Grove, and the Knights still have a series coming against the Vikings next week.