I just decided to take a swing at it, and things worked out well. Coach Sato was happy about it. —Bingham senior Noah Wallick
PLEASANT GROVE — Bingham is consistently one of the better-coached baseball teams in the state, with players often thriving from the direction of coach Joe Sato and his staff. But one particular instance, during Wednesday's 7-5 win over Pleasant Grove, saw the game's biggest hit come by virtue of not heeding specific instruction.
Bingham senior Noah Wallick took to the batter's box in the top of the fifth inning, with his team holding a slight 4-2 lead. After taking a few pitches he sliced a pitch that landing just inside the right-field line, scoring two runs and leaving Wallick with a triple in the process.
The hit proved big in the otherwise closely-contested game, giving the Miners some needed insurance in the later innings, although Wallick's swing at that particular pitch was never supposed to happen.
"I originally wasn't supposed to swing. The call was to drag bunt there," Wallick said, given the situation with runners on first and second base and no outs. "But I just decided to take a swing at it, and things worked out well. Coach Sato was happy about it."
Wallick scored on a Derek Soffe single three batters later, giving Bingham a commanding 7-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the fifth. Soffe also provided some cagey base-running in the top of the fourth inning to give his team a 4-2 lead.
Following what appeared to be a routine single slapped to left field, Soffe took advantage of a lazy throw that was a bit errant to take second base. He was then able to steal third base, even with Pleasant Grove's pitcher keeping the ball in his hand prior to sending a pitch to the plate. He then scored with some more aggressive baserunning on a 2-3 out which would have seen many baserunners stay in place.
"We really emphasize aggressive baserunning and taking that extra 90 (feet)," Soffe said. "It's something I've tried to do all season — we all have, and that time it just worked out real well for us."
The Vikings didn't just go away, however, and gave the Miners a bit of a scare in the bottom of the sixth. Two hit batters, a bases-on-balls and a single cut the lead to 7-4, before a fielding error trimmed it to 7-5. At that point, Pleasant Grove went to the bullpen, where Joey Dixon was able to minimize the damage before closing things out in the seventh inning.
With the win, Bingham improves to 10-8 on the season and 4-1 in Region 4 play. Pleasant Grove drops to a perilous 0-5 in region play, with the loss.
"This was a huge win for us," Soffe said. "Pleasant Grove is a great team, and we've done well to take two straight from them. Hopefully we can get another one on Friday for the sweep."
Bingham will go for that sweep at 3:30 p.m. in a game played on its home field.
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