PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove center fielder Zach Peterson is somewhat new to batting from the right side of the plate. A fact hardly assumed by the way he turned on a fastball in the bottom of the fourth inning Friday during the Vikings' 12-2 win over Lone Peak.
With the bases juiced and the count 3-1 with one out, Peterson was looking dead red and got exactly what he was looking for.
“I was looking fastball the whole way, got it, and yeah, I turned on it real good,” he said.
The junior outfielder pulled the pitch right over the left field fence, immediately raising his arm after contact.
“I knew I had it right after I made contact,” he said.
For Peterson, he typically bats as a lefty but worked hard to become an effective switch hitter in the offseason.
“You saw his hard work pay off there and I couldn’t be happier for him,” said Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry. “It was a great shot in the arm for the team right there.”
Peterson’s grand slam blew open a tight 2-2 game to give the Vikings a comfortable 6-2 lead entering the fifth inning.
After Lone Peak failed to cut into the lead in the top half of the fifth, Pleasant Grove laid the finishing blow in the bottom half.
Three consecutive singles from Jade Smoot, Chase Merrell and Ben Eldredge loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly from Logan Bullock and a double from BYU commit Easton Walker brought all three in to extend the lead to 9-2.
Payton Henry then brought two runs home with a single before Smoot ended it with an RBI single of his own to push the score to 12-2 — enough to call the game after just four and 2/3 innings played.
“We’ve been working a lot on execution and that’s what helped us there in the fifth,” Henry said. “Of course a lot of it was momentum after Zach’s grand slam. That really fired us up and I think you saw just how fired up we were in that final inning.”
The win was a big one for the Vikings to remain tied with region-leading American Fork in the loss column. It also capped off a competitive three-game series against the Knights — holding them at bay in the region standings.
“Our kids were fired up coming into this one because we knew we had to have it after losing Wednesday,” Henry said. “Lone Peak is a great team and they’ve been as tough as anyone this year, so winning it like this — it’s big for us. Hopefully we can take the momentum from this game and build on it.”
Next up for Pleasant Grove (7-2 in region play) is a three-game series versus Westlake beginning Tuesday at home. Lone Peak, which is now 7-5 in region play, will next take on Lehi in a three-game series beginning Tuesday on the road.