OREM — Sitting in a place they didn't want to be — the one-loss bracket — American Fork's bats came alive to keep them in the title hunt.
The Cavemen exploded for 16 hits Tuesday, going on to beat Copper Hills 10-5 for their second win in a row since losing to Syracuse in the second round of the 5A state baseball playoffs last week.
Riley Ottesen was flawless at the plate, going 5 for 5 while driving in three runs and scoring twice. Zac Willis added two hits in three tries and seven other Cavemen logged base hits on the day.
"As a team I feel like we're in a groove," Ottesen said. "That’s all we need to do, continue on our offensive groove. Our defense is good enough to win a ballgame, but it should keep going with our offense."
The offense did keep going Tuesday, logging runs in all but one inning. Ottesen hit an RBI single in the third inning and helped another runner score in the fourth on a Grizzlies fielding error to give the Cavemen an early 4-0 lead.
Copper Hills answered in the bottom half of the fourth, going off for five runs. Jordan Keefer led off with a double and Jake Boyd (3 for 4) singled to shallow center to set up runners on the corners. Zach Hoffman's sacrifice fly drove in pinch runner Riley Akers.
American Fork allowed another runner to reach on a fielding error before Dom Flores' hit to the left-field fence landed just inside the third-base line, driving in another run.
Nick Heath gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the game in the next at-bat, sending a ball well over the left-field fence for a two-run home run.
Copper Hills didn't score again after that, however.
Trailing 5-4, American Fork re-took the lead for good in the fifth. Austin Pitcher's single drove in a run and Brock Lamb followed up with a two-RBI blooper to center.
The Grizzlies threatened twice more with two runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings, but left all of them stranded, the first two on an American Fork double play, the last two on a strikeout from starting pitcher Sean Hardman.
American Fork will play the loser of Riverton and Layton tomorrow at Brent Brown Ballpark at 4 p.m.
Matt Petersen is the sports web editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.
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