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High school baseball: American Fork takes down Westlake

There was no shortage of offense in Thursday’s region 4 battle between American Fork and Westlake. 

In a game that combined for 38 hits, seven home runs, and 28 runs, the top ranked Caveman held off a late rally to take down the Thunder 16-12 Thursday afternoon in Saratoga Springs.

The Caveman tallied a season high 19 hits with four of those coming from sophomore sensation C.J Mascaro. The centerfielder finished the day going four of five at the plate with two home runs and tallied a team high five RBIs.

“It was a great game to have. I haven’t had one in a minute but was finally able to break through,” said Mascaro.

Every American Fork player who stepped up to the plate during the game recorded at least one hit, and seven of the nine recorded at least one RBI. While certainly the entire lineup was swinging with confidence, head coach Jared Ingersoll was exceptionally pleased with his young sophomore.

“We expect that from C.J.,” said Ingersoll. “He looked real comfortable today and made a lot of really good swings. Credit to him, his leadership, and his toughness.”

With the victory, the Cavemen improved to 12-4 on the season with a 6-2 mark in region play. Westlake, who dropped to 1-8 in region play, was led by senior Sage Strayer, who, like Mascaro, logged two home runs and five RBIs. 

“Westlake did a good job, they are scrappy and they hit really well today,” said Ingersoll. “You’ve got to tip your hat to them.”

The top ranked Cavemen opened the game with five straight hits, resulting in a quick Westlake pitching change. By the time the top half of the inning ended, American Fork had scored five runs, and looked poised to blow open the score.

The Thunder slowly chipped away, however, adding their own run in the bottom of the first, and then two more in the bottom of the second to cut the American Fork lead to two.

The Cavemen used another strong inning in the third to stretch the lead. Mascaro’s first home run of the night capped a four run inning, giving American Fork a 9-3 lead.

“Having trust with others and being able to have that makes it easy to swing at the plate and feel confident,” said Mascaro. “We were able to focus, swing the bat, and be aggressive in the count.”

After Strayer and fellow senior Jensen Smith each blasted the ball over the fences for Westlake in the bottom of the third, the Thunder and Cavemen settled for much less offense in the middle innings. Westlake senior Mason Hartle raced past home plate on sacrifice fly to left, pulling the Thunder within three after five innings.

With momentum starting to sway the hosts way, the top of the lineup for American Fork came up clutch in the top of the sixth. Senior Ryder Robinson got things going with a lead-off double, followed by Mascaro’s second home run of the game.

“He’s there in the two hole and he’s awfully good,” said Ingersoll. “We swung it pretty good today which we needed every run. That was for sure.”

The Cavemen added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding 13-7 lead. Like they had so often, though, the Thunder responded, scoring three runs of their own with the heart of the lineup up to the plate.

Leaving two runners stranded to close the inning hurt Westlake, but the confidence to come back in the seventh was brewing.

American Fork senior Josh Rojas did all he could to cool any momentum and slam the door shut on a comeback. With runners on second and third, Rojas delivered a deep fly ball to left field that cleared the fences and gave the visitors another seven-run lead.

Westlake wouldn’t go down without a fight. After two singles, Strayer tallied his second home run of the game, bringing the Thunder faithful to their feet and pulling the hosts within four with no outs.

American Fork’s counter was to bring in Rojas from behind the plate as catcher to the mound as the pitcher. The senior downed each of the three Thunder batters he faced, finishing the game with a strikeout.

“I think everything in baseball is a learning experience whether some of them are really hard and some of them are really good,” Ingersoll said. “Today we found ourselves on the right side.”

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