PROVO In a defensive struggle, the Orem Tigers took a bend-but-don't-break approach as they escaped with a 5-3 win over Springville Friday.
The Tigers (10-6, 5-1) came into the game tied with the Red Devils in second place in Region 7 and just a game behind Mountain View.
"I don't think either team played exceptionally well by any means, but it helps tremendously just to say we were not intimidated," said Orem coach Gary Miner.
While neither team was amazing at the plate, the pitching was the highlight of the day, especially for the Tigers. Nate Adamson once again carried Orem by throwing the entire game, and, although he gave up 11 hits, he only walked one Springville hitter and never gave up the big play.
"(Adamson) is a competitor," said Miner. "Everything is around the dish and he mixes it up well. They didn't hit anything real hard. He is just a great competitor."
Orem got the game's first run when Jordan Johnston singled in a run in the top of the second inning. But the Red Devils tied it up in the third when Ben Doxey ripped one to right field, scoring teammate Jeff Boyd from second base.
With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, Orem was finally able to get a few runners on base. After walking or hitting the first three hitters of the inning, Springville's Brian Whatcott walked in the go-ahead run. Then on Corey Macmurdo's first pitch in relief of Whatcott, Orem's Colton Baird knocked the ball right up the gut for a single that made it 4-1.
"I told (Baird), 'Go up there, he is going to want to establish it, so hit the first pitch,' and he did it with the bases loaded," said Miner.
In the bottom of the fifth, Springville would give Adamson his biggest test on the mound. After an error and two singles, he found himself with the bases loaded and only one out. Springville executed a sacrifice fly to score one run, but Orem was able to hold off the second. Then Adamson finished the inning by forcing a pop-up and leaving two stranded on base.
"Bottom line nothing is going to shake him," Miner said of Adamson, who improved to 6-1 on the season. "He is going to do his job and if the other team executes and hits the ball great, but he is going to do his job."
The Tigers got an insurance run the seventh to go up 5-2. But Springville fought back, scoring quickly in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game within two runs. But with the tying runs on second and third base, Springville grounded out and flew out to end the game.
Baird led Orem going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Doxey of Springville went 3-for-3 with one RBI and a double.
Miner was happy to come out with the victory and with the team off all next week for spring break, he just hopes to come back and play the second half of the season and overcome that one hiccup at Mountain View."We have lost one game, to Mountain View by one run, so we just want to just play them again and see what happens," he said. "Were happy to be right where we are and have a chance to play for a region title."