Clipper Sports Writer
BOUNTIFUL -- Baseball is a team sport, right? No one player usually dominates a game so much that it changes the outcome of a game, right? That might not always be the case in a Major League game, but it is typically the case in a high school baseball game. Saturday, Timpanogos star Mac Nelson proved that theory wrong as he led the Timberwolves over the Viewmont Vikings 12-9 in Bountiful.
The game was definitely fun to watch as both teams combined for 21 runs and 26 hits. But Nelson was the star of this game. Nelson, who was the state 4A MVP in 2002 as a sophomore, went 4-for-5 with a double and a pair of two-run homeruns in route to a six RBI game.
Viewmont responded to a one-run opening first from the Timberwolves by scoring two runs themselves in the bottom half of the first. Timpanogos starter Ryder Olsen looked to be vulnerable as his control was just not there. One thing that helped Olsen and the Timberwolves, and hurt the Vikings, were aggressive base running errors that eventually ended Viewmont rallies prematurely in the first few innings.
Olsen didn't have his best stuff and with two outs in the bottom of the second, Viewmont tried some variation of a suicide squeeze bunt with a runner on third. The Viking batter never seemed to square in time and the stealing runner from third was then caught in a pickle between third and home which resulted in Viewmont stranding the runner at third and at first with nothing to show for it.
It was a low-scoring affair the first three innings. The third inning saw a little of the same on the base paths for Viewmont. Olsen again issued a leadoff walk to Viewmont. The Viking base runner immediately stole second and was promptly thrown out. Olsen mustered another Viking out, but then walked Viewmont's third batter of the inning Levi Swenson. That's all Viewmont could get in the third and left Swenson stranded with the game now tied 2-2.
The scoring was just about to begin for both teams in the fourth as Timpanogos led off the top of the fourth with a four-run, four-hit inning. Viewmont countered in the fourth with a new pitcher, Kyle Graham. Graham had trouble right from the get-go as the Timberwolves' Jake Biegler reached first on a leadoff error at the mound by Graham. A bunt following the error moved Biegler to second and got the Timpanogos hitter to first on a fielding error by Levi Swenson at third for Viewmont. A fielders' choice on the ensuing at-bat moved Timberwolves runners to second and third with one out.
With runners at second and third Cole McWhorter came to the plate and promptly hit a two-run double to keep the inning alive for Timpanogos. Most importantly for the Timberwolves, it gave them a chance to get Nelson to the plate. Nelson was clearly the best player on the field Saturday and he deposited a Graham fastball out over the centerfield wall for a two-run HR, giving Timpanogos a four-run lead going into the Viewmont half of the fourth.
Viewmont got three hits in the bottom of the fourth to get one run back. Timpanogos answered the call in the fifth as Biegler again led off the inning by reaching first, this time by virtue of being hit by a pitch. An easy double play ball on the next at-bat was thrown out into shallow right field by Viking shortstop Cole Miles. The botched exchange at second base moved both Timpanogos runners to second and third with nobody out. That bought up Nelson and he immediately knocked both runners in with a single up the middle for RBI number three and four. In all, the Timberwolves scored three runs in the fifth to take a commanding 9-3 lead.
Viewmont didn't go down in this one without a fight though. The Vikings had a big bottom half of the fifth as they scored four funs on two hits to narrow the Timpanogos lead to two runs, 9-7.
The Vikings were led in the inning by Matt Madsen, who reached first on a leadoff error by none other than Timpanogos shortstop Mac Nelson.
Olsen then walked two consecutive batters to load the bases with no outs for Viewmont. Olsen was quickly yanked from the game and replaced by Kevin Wilkey.
Viking Steve Rodebush promptly stroked a single to left to score one run for Viewmont and keep the bases loaded with no outs still. The Vikings' Tyler Mitchell then got a grounder to first that scored Tyson Cooper from third while finally recording the first out of the inning for Timpanogos. Then, Viking pinch hitter Trent Cook came to the plate and stroked a double of his own to score the remaining runners at second and third and close the Timpanogos lead to two runs.
Timpanogos was shut down in the sixth by new Viking pitcher Tyler Mitchell as the Timberwolves didn't score a run in the inning for the first time since the second. Viewmont came up in the bottom of the sixth and scored two more runs to tie the game back up at nine. Again, it was Madsen and Rodebush who sparked the Viewmont comeback.
Viewmont Head Coach Roger Farnsworth opted for Levi Swenson in the seventh to pitch the decisive Timpanogos at-bat.
A leadoff double by Timpanogos led to a picture-perfect bunt by the Timberwolves' Alex Lyons to move the runner to third with one out now on the books for the Vikings. A Swenson wild pitch during the next at-bat scored the third base runner for the Timberwolves.
Following the run scoring wild pitch, Cole McWhorter came up for Timpanogos and reached on an infield single to deep short.
That brought up Nelson who put the game out of reach with a rocket that lined just barely over the left field fence for homerun number two of the game.
In all, Timpanogos scored three runs in the top of the seventh on three hits to take a commanding 12-9 lead into Viewmont's final at-bat.
Wolfe had little trouble with the Viking hitters and got the save for Timpanogos. Viewmont, with the loss, fell to 7-4 on the season while Timpanogos improved to 8-2. Viewmont resumes Region 1 play today with a game at home against Northridge.