SOUTH JORDAN – The score was tied. It was the bottom of the seventh inning. The middle of the Bingham Miners’ lineup was due up to bat.
It was the perfect scenario, setting the scene for a Bingham batter to make contact and drive home the game-winning score.
Five different players stepped into the batter’s box, and all five made contributions in pushing Aaron Marsh across home plate to give the Miners a 7-6 win over American Fork on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a great feeling because we were working so hard the whole game trying to get one-up on the other team,” said Bingham senior Austin Florez. “It’s great to capitalize on someone else’s mistakes.”
Florez, the first batter of the bottom of the seventh inning, reached base with an infield single before being replaced with a pinch runner in Marsh.
Marsh took second on a Braydan Diddle sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat, and then Trevor Carlile moved him to third base with a single up the middle.
Junior Cody Kitchen struck out swinging for the second out of the inning but still pushed Carlile to second base to remove the possibility of a force out, setting up Landon Walbeck’s game-winning swing.
Walbeck, a 6-foot-1 junior, sent a fast line drive through the middle of the infield, which was mishandled, and beat the throw to first, allowing Marsh to reach home and end the game.
“It’s a close ballgame and that could have been caught,” Florez said. “I mean, that’s pretty close to being caught.”
American Fork scored first with an unearned run in the top of the first inning before Bingham responded with three in the bottom of the first. By the end of the fourth, the Cavemen had added two runs, both of them unearned, and the Miners led 4-3 following Tyler Zupon’s run after reaching base on a hit by a pitch.
The Miners extended the lead in the fifth inning with three singles and a Florez double, but American Fork again took advantage of Bingham errors to put more runs on the scoreboard.
With the bases loaded, Koy Dibb hit a grounder toward the second baseman. It was fielded but miscommunication on the toss to the shortstop covering second base allowed the ball to drop. Both Riley Winter and Seth Taylor reached home, tying the score, 6-6.
“This is what we work for in the offseason, trying to get games like this, different situations. It was a great game today,” Florez said. “(Close games) are the best. The ones that you can grind to the last at-bat (are) the ones that we live for here at Bingham.”
With the win, the Miners improved to 3-1 in the young season while the Cavemen fell to 5-2.
Trevor Trait started on the mound for Bingham, striking out three and giving up three runs in four innings. Spencer Estey took over in the fifth, adding three strikeouts in three innings.
Florez finished 2 for 4 from the plate with a double and Tony Moderno was 2 for 3 with two runs and a hit by pitch.
Emmett Green led the Cavemen, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.