LEHI — Sometimes it takes some small ball to get big things going.
Lone Peak coach Matt Bezzant believes the theory and made a key call in the top of the seventh inning to help turn a 2-2 tie against Lehi into an 8-3 romp Friday afternoon.
With the bases loaded and one out on the board, Trevor Lahargoue strode to the plate, charged with executing the seldom-used and risky squeeze play. Given the senior outfielder’s prowess in laying down bunts, Bezzant felt it was his team’s best option.
“I just decided that if we were going to go down that we were going to go down gutsy,” Bezzant said. “I just called it, it worked out, so I was pleased. We had a guy I knew could get it done and he got it done.”
Lahargoue’s well-placed bunt down the third-base line not only scored junior Chandler Goeckeritz from third, but allowed himself to reach first base safely.
From there, Lone Peak’s bats came alive amid very windy and rainy conditions. RBI singles were provided by juniors Connor Boyd and Avery Goeckeritz, with senior Sterling Larsen drawing a bases-loaded walk in between to push the lead to 8-2 entering the bottom-half of the seventh.
It was the type of offensive burst the Knights have produced throughout the season.
“If you’ve followed us this year, we’ve put up a lot of six- or seven-run innings this year, but we’ve also put up a lot of zeros,” Bezzant said. “When we get the emotion on our side, that’s when kids start believing. ... We played with a lot of emotion that inning.”
Lehi did manage one run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Pioneers were effectively closed out by Brooks Goeckeritz, who went the distance for Lone Peak. It was the junior hurler's first start since early in the year due to injury.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Brooks Goeckeritz,” Bezzant said. “He fractured his tibia early in the year and this was his first game back since that injury. ... He came out and was phenomenal.”
Bezzant threw 82 pitches in seven innings, with 69 of them going for strikes.
Lone Peak improved to 12-8 on the year and 9-6 in Region 4. Lehi dropped to 10-10 and 5-7.
With just four games remaining in the season, the Knights are in prime position to secure a postseason berth and are working toward becoming a legitimate contender.
“We’re battling with the top teams, but sometimes haven’t been able to get that one big hit like we were today,” Bezzant said. “If we can start getting those big hits and believing, then anything can happen. We have the athletes to compete with anyone, but we just need to start believing.”