TAYLORSVILLE — Spanish Fork coach Jim "Shoe" Nelson said the Dons' standard game plan always includes good pitching backed by solid defense. He added that when the offense keeps up with the other two elements, his team is pretty tough to beat.
Taylorsville knows firsthand that he is right.
Second-ranked Spanish Fork improved to 10-2 as it put all three together Friday afternoon to post a 6-0 win over the highly regarded Warriors.
"I think this was our most complete game of the year," said Nelson. "We have had pretty consistent pitching and defense all year, but our hitting has been all over the place. Today, I think we strung together some clutch hits, and even when we didn't get a hit, we had a lot of good at-bats. We hit the ball hard a few times that ended up going right to someone, so I would say it was one of our better days at the plate. I think it is probably the best we have played overall so far."
Junior Brock Duke started on the hill to fulfill the first part of the Dons' standard MO. He had the Taylorsville hitters baffled for the six innings he threw. With a fastball that was consistently clocked in the mid- to upper 80s, and hit 90 on a couple of occasions, and a slider that was only a few mph off his fastball but bit hard and dipped late, he scattered five hits while striking out nine. Probably as impressive as any stat he posted was the fact he walked only one.
"I was locating my fastball where I wanted it," said Duke. "I had a hard time getting my curve going, but my slider was confusing them. I just tried to mix things up and keep them guessing, keep them off balance. I felt good today. I always think that if I have my best stuff that I can stop any team."
The Dons' infielders took care of the second phase as Kirt Daley, Tyler Hanks, Shaun Peterson and Selby Brummet made every play look routine.
The offense was a complete team effort as Hanks and Kade Christensen were the only players with multiple hits out of the team's 10 base knocks. Daley was 1-for-1 with two walks and a sacrifice fly. Duke had an RBI single in the first inning, and Brummet and Peterson accounted for the other two RBIs.
"I really liked that almost every guy at the plate went up with something in mind," added Nelson. "They had a purpose and didn't waste any time up there. They saw a lot of pitches and did a good job in the certain situations we were in."
Adam Duke came in to close out the game in the seventh for the Dons. They begin Region 4 play with their next game when they travel to Lehi on Tuesday.
"We expect big things from this team," said Brock Duke. "We want to compete for a state title. If we can just play our best baseball, then I think that is something we can accomplish."