Rain Delay Worth The Wait For Pleasant Grove Baseball
OREM, Utah – After a tournament filled with delays, it was only fitting that the Pleasant Grove Vikings had to wait a few more hours before hoisting the 2019 6A baseball state championship trophy after beating Lone Peak 5-4 in nine innings – but it was worth the wait.
Riddled by a late start, the game had all the drama you’d expect in a clash between two region foes: a late start, ejections, home runs, and extra innings, with Vikings winning on a walk-off. Literally.
After taking a 4-3 lead Lone Peak would overcome controversy with the ejection of their head coach, Jeremy Berg – who was tossed after arguing an inning-ending call at third base – and were on their way to cruising to a Saturday “what-if” game, until the bottom of the seventh. Pleasant Grove star shortstop, Brock Watkins stepped to the plate and hammered a 1-0 offspeed pitch onto the berm in left field to tie the game at four runs each.
“He’s the best player in the state, everybody knows it,” said Head Coach Darrin Henry. “I was confident [when he came up in the seventh].”
“It was awesome,” said Watkins. “I just tried to get my pitch and find the gap. I knew my guys behind me would get it done.”
Watkins finished the game 4-5 from the plate and helped the Vikings defensively ending two innings on double plays and made a number of spectacular grabs at shortstop.
In extra innings, the Knights were unable to capitalize with two runners on in the eighth inning, and Pleasant Grove would leave a runner on to go to the ninth.
Viking pitcher Kreed Trane who came in relief and pitch 4 ⅔ innings forced a three-up-three-down inning in the ninth bringing Watkins up to the plate once again.
“Kreed Trane coming in to do the pitching job that he did today is unbelievable,” said Henry.
Watkins led off the inning with a single and the next two Vikings would reach base on a base on balls and a hit by pitch. With loaded bases, left fielder Jackson Hill worked a full count finishing in a “walk” off for the Vikings.
“It was pretty nerve wracking,” said Hill. “I left like that [last pitch] was make or break – at least for me. When I saw it up, I just smiled. It felt so good to be state champs.”
The championship is the second for the Vikings in the last five years, previously winning in 2015.
“I’ll tell ya what, we’re state champions and I love it. I love it,” said Henry