Friday, April 15, 2005

Baseball team catches serious case of offense

Bulldogs come down with bat flu — and they like it

By Rob Weiler
For the Deseret Morning News

      PROVO — The Provo High baseball team's offense had been sick with a stuffy nose in the first half of the Region 6 season.
      In the past two weeks alone, the Bulldogs had been shut out twice and combined for eight runs in their other two outings.
      But the Bulldog offense finally cleared its sinuses and lit up the scoreboard on Thursday with 14 for a 17-5 road win against Timpview.
      "I tell them hitting is contagious," Provo coach Lance Moore said. "One guy starts it, and everybody can catch on. I said, 'Somebody needs to sneeze,' and we sneezed today."
      With a five-run lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs kept the bats out across the plate in a seven-hit, seven run inning that forced the Thunderbirds to swap pitchers twice in the inning.
      "What set the tone today was our situational hitting," Moore said. "We get a sacrifice bunt that turns into a knock and then a hit-and-run slash that put us up by six with runners at first and third with nobody out. We just rolled from there."
      The hit-and-run slash by Provo senior Brock Brimhall was the third of four hits on the day between Brimhall and his younger brother Craig. They each collected two hits and two walks and combined for three RBIs and six of the Bulldog runs.
      "I couldn't be happier for those two," Moore said. "They've been going up there with white knuckles pressing so hard, and today they relaxed and started hitting line drives. They broke out and were catalysts in the offensive attack today."
      Craig Brimhall also had a good day on the mound in relief work for starting pitcher Travis Ayoso. Brimhall's pitching kept the ball on the ground for his infielders, who closed out the last two innings with a pair of textbook double plays. Ayoso earned most of his outs on his own, striking out 12 in 4 1/3 innings.
      "He's a dominant kind of guy,'"Moore said. "He's got a good fastball with good movement and a good curveball, and if he has command of both of those pitches, he's tough to hit." Timpview's big hitters teed off on Ayoso early on before the southpaw could set settled in. Luke Ashworth and Adam Crowley each had stand-up doubles that reached the fence in the first inning to give the T-Birds an early lead before getting flustered at the plate by Ayoso's quick pace of play.
      "They're a team that demands respect because of the athletes they have and the way they swing the bat," Moore said. "Travis struggled but got guys out when he needed to with some help form a good defense today. That was the difference in the game."