The AF-PG showdown is set.
No. 1 American Fork and No. 2 Pleasant Grove both won their 6A baseball playoffs games at UVU on Wednesday to advance to this weekend’s 6A state championship best-of-3 series.
Game 1 is set for Friday at 6 p.m., with Game 2 on Saturday at noon. A third game will follow on Saturday if necessary.
Pleasant Grove certainly had an easier time securing its spot in the championship series, rolling past Jordan 10-0 in five innings to win its four-team bracket with a 3-0 record. American Fork, meanwhile, followed with an 8-5 win over Bingham, twice rallying after the Miners grabbed a two-run lead in the top of the first and fourth innings.
Each time, it was Fisher Ingersoll who helped erase that deficit for American Fork — which also won its four-team bracket with a 3-0 record.
In the second inning it was Ingersoll’s two-out, two-run single that tied the game at 2-2, and then in the fourth inning he again had a two-out, two-run single to tie game 5-5.
“I just had to keep doing my stuff, trusting my approach. I knew it would fall our way, just keep going at it. As a team, we still haven’t hit how we’ve been hitting all year, so we’re just really looking for our bats to start coming out, and they started coming out toward the end which was good,” said Ingersoll.
In the fifth inning, American Fork took the lead for good at 6-5 as Easton Welling doubled over the left fielder’s head, driving in Kaden Carpenter who reached on a dropped fly ball to open the inning.
American Fork added a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth as Easton Jones took advantage of Bingham intentional walking Ingersoll. He doubled, driving in two as the lead swelled to 8-5.
“I knew he was going to come through. He’d had a tough day at the plate his first couple at bats, and I knew he was going to come through,” said Ingersoll.
Pleasant Grove booked its place in the best-of-three 6A championship series by finally getting the bats going early.
In Monday’s win, Pleasant Grove didn’t score its first run until Tate Lewis’ walk-off homer in the seventh inning. On Tuesday, it was held hitless until the fifth inning when it finally started to string some hits together.
Those hits came early and often against Jordan — which beat Lone Peak earlier in the day to get another shot at No. 2 seed Pleasant Grove.
Kyler Lester led off the game with a double, with Brody Ballantyne also doubling in the two-run first inning. In the second, Pleasant Grove added five more runs, highlighted by a two-run double from Ryker Schow and then a three-run homer by Jordan Pace.
“Did exactly what we wanted to do, wanted to jump out early with the lead, and put pressure on them. Our guys swung it tremendously, you saw the barrels tonight, those were some of the hardest hit balls of the tournament,” said Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry.
Pace’s blast to left field pushed the lead from 4-0 to 7-0, and effectively broke the sprits of Jordan.
“Did exactly what we wanted to do, wanted to jump out early with the lead, and put pressure on them. Our guys swung it tremendously, you saw the barrels tonight, those were some of the hardest hit balls of the tournament.” — Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry.
“It definitely helped the momentum, push it our way and then get it going so we can score 10 and get out of here in five,” said Pace.
Pleasant Grove scored two more runs in the third inning on a throwing error, and then Sam Haynie doubled in the 10th run in the bottom of the fourth, allowing the Vikings to close things out early.
Jordan actually out-hit Pleasant Grove 7-6 on the day, but it didn’t capitalize on those opportunities as it left seven runners on base in the first three innings.
“Brayden Marx buckled down and pitched with guys on base and did a good job, and that was the key for us,” said Henry. “He attacked guys, that’s who he is, he likes to come at you and say ‘let’s go.’ Brayden is a sophomore, and he’s been working his butt off to be a part of this team.”
Both American Fork and Pleasant Grove will have a day off to prepare for Game 1 on Friday, and both will be able to throw their aces who picked up wins in Monday’s state tournament games.