PLEASANT GROVE — Visiting the top-ranked team in the state and facing one of the valley's top pitchers, one could expect Lone Peak to be a little jittery for its Region 4 opener on Tuesday.
But the Knights brought their big sticks and jumped out of the gates early, pounding out five hits and two home runs on their way to a 6-4 win over Pleasant Grove. Every run in the game but one came compliments of a home run.
"I think this is the first time we've ever started off with a win in region," Lone Peak coach Danny Schoonover said. "We came with a game plan, and our hitters did a good job with it."
Starter Pete Sundwall pitched the complete game for the Knights, but it was Lone Peak's bats that made the difference in a hotly contested battle. Although Pleasant Grove ace Egan Smith tallied eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings on the mound, the Knights capitalized on the few chances they got — knocking out key hits in opportune moments.
The first big hit for Lone Peak came in the first inning courtesy of Daniel Sechrist. With one man on, Sechrist took the 2-1 pitch from Smith and popped it high into left field. The ball seemed to float forever before catching a gust of wind that carried it well beyond the wall for the early 2-0 lead.
"That one from Sechrist (helped) to get us going, to let us know we can hit on this guy," Schoonover said.
The Vikings came back and took the lead in the second inning on a three-run homer by Colby Whiteley, the first of two home runs by the Pleasant Grove second basemen on the day.
In the fifth inning, however, Lone Peak struck back as Taft Rasmussen nailed a shot to the left-center wall, good for a triple and the Knights' first hit since Sechrist's homer. Rasmussen later scored on a single by Nate Newman, tying the game at 3-3. Two batters later, Max Harris stepped to the plate and sent a straight shot to left-center, a power shot that cleared the wall and brought in three runs and proved to be the game winner as Lone Peak took a 6-3 lead.
Pleasant Grove made a small charge in the bottom of the seventh when Whiteley went yard for the second time, a solo shot that cleared the same left-field fence as the previous three homers. But two pop-flies and a throw-out at first later, and the Knights celebrated the slight-upset win. The two teams meet again Thursday at Lone Peak.
"It's big for us," Schoonover said of the Knights' 1-0 start. "To win this takes a little pressure off us."