AMERICAN FORK — Scant offensive production from the opposition is expected whenever American Fork’s Riley Ottesen takes the mound, but Caveman coach Jared Ingersoll feels the same way about Alta’s Brett Snyder.
Both pitchers had their good stuff going Wednesday afternoon and were the primary reason the game was tied at just 1-1 through seven innings. American Fork pulled through in the bottom of the eighth, however, courtesy of three walks and a clutch game-winning hit from Alec Schultz off relief pitcher Chipper Lucero.
Schultz's game-winning hit gave the Cavemen a 2-1 victory.
“We finally got some guys on base there in the eighth,” Ingersoll said. “Snyder just did what (he does). He always gives us fits whenever we go against him. We’ve seen him for three years now and we just can’t get to him and that’s a credit to him and his talent. But we definitely took too many strikeouts against him.”
Snyder recorded seven strikeouts through six innings pitched against four hits and one unearned run in the top of the first. American Fork’s Brock Lamb scored clear from first base on a one-out single from Shawn Hardman courtesy of an Alta throwing error — giving the Cavemen an early 1-0 lead.
With the way Ottesen was pitching it appeared to most that the 1-0 margin would hold until a two-out triple from Alta’s Brandon Goddard tied things up.
“We gave up a few outs we should have had in that inning and you can’t do that against a good team like Alta,” Ingersoll said. “Other than that Riley (Ottesen) just did what he always does.”
Ottesen recorded 13 strikeouts in a complete-game effort. He allowed just four hits.
“Riley was just his typical self and had total command of his pitches,” Ingersoll said. “He kept the ball low and he just did what we’ve come to expect from him whenever he takes the mound.”
Helping Ottesen along the way was catcher Zac Willis, who is in his third year starting at the position. Willis helped Ottesen locate pitches and threw out two Alta runners who attempted to steal second base.
“Zac Willis is just a complete stud and he’s been such a reliable player for us,” Ingersoll said. “Alta has a lot of speed and can hurt you with that, but Zac really kept them in check and was just awesome throughout.”
Willis helped set up Schultz’s winning hit by taking a walk to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth. It was the third walk issued by Lucero in the inning as the Cavemen showed great patience at the plate.
“I think their relief pitcher struggled with his spots, but our guys definitely did well to lay off some pitches, which helped set up Alec (Schultz) and he pulled through,” Ingersoll said.
With the win American Fork improves to 5-2 and will next take on Jordan at home this Friday. Alta drops to 7-4 and will square off against Cottonwood on April 9.