In back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bingham High Miners beat the Pleasant Grove Vikings in baseball. The Miners won 5-2 at home on Tuesday and 7-5 at Pleasant Grove on Wednesday.
In Wednesday's game, the Vikings scored first, with two runs in the first inning, but couldn't hold on. Great pitching and base running put Bingham ahead and shut down a struggling Pleasant Grove.
At the end of the game, the Vikings appeared to be heading to a rally as they scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, mirroring Bingham's three-run effort in the top of the sixth. The final score of the game was already in place as both teams played through the seventh, with Bingham on top and excited to play game three in this series, hoping for a sweep.
The game started tough for the Vikings, as their first two batters got on base and crossed the plate off two singles, a double and a walk. In the second inning, Bingham answered back with two runs from two hits and two walks.
Bingham's starting pitcher, senior Ethan Fowlks, settled down in the bottom of the second inning, stopping the Vikings offense with three up and three down, ending two innings with the score knotted at two apiece. Fowlks was just getting started. Through the following three innings — third, fourth and fifth — Pleasant Grove sent 10 batters to the plate, generating no offense.
During that same period, Bingham did manage to put two more scores on the board. One of those scores came from senior outfielder Derek Soffe. Soffe reached the bag on a single, then, watching the defense get ready for the next batter and seeing they paid no attention to the runner, Soffe stole second base, sliding in under the tag. As the batter awaited the pitch, he swung around as if he were going to bunt the ball. The Viking defense moved up to play the bunt, which left the bases wide open. Soffe took off for third and slid in safe, as no one was defending that base. Soffe scored on the next hit.
"I try watching for opportunities to help my team; when something comes up, I jump on it," Soffe said after the game. "I have pretty good speed; that helps."
At the beginning of the sixth inning, with the score 4-2, Bingham generated three more runs and felt comfortable with its 7-2 lead. The Vikings' first two batters were beaned by Fowlks. That led to the Miners bringing in sophomore Joey Dixon to relieve Fowlks.
"Fowlks did a great job on the mound but needed some help," Bingham coach Joe Sato said. "Dixon came in and shut down the game in relief."
Pleasant Grove scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth but could not reach any farther. The score at the end of the sixth was the final score, 7-5.
The Vikings had five runs on nine hits and two errors. Bingham had seven runs on nine hits and two errors. With the loss, Pleasant Grove now has a region record of 0-5 with an overall record of 10-8. Bingham has a region record of 4-1 with an overall record of 10-8.
The teams will face each other one more time this season in region play on Friday, at Bingham.
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and reports on Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.