Smith’s squeeze sends Russets to 1-0 win over South Fremont
SHELLEY — Runs were tough to come by Friday afternoon at Shelley High School.
The host Russets and 3A Sixth District leaders South Fremont battled for six and a half innings with no runs coming across to score.
In fact the Cougars never had a runner get any further than second base as the Russets pitching duo of Kaden Schmitt and Marcus Gustaveson held the Cougars to just three hits.
The Russets on the other hand had plenty of chances to get runs across, but missed bunts and the inability to make contact stranded runners on base in all but two innings in the game.
But in the seventh after a leadoff double down the left field line by Marcus Gustaveson, Zack Leal singled to move him to third. Then on a 1-1 pitch Braxton Smith laid down a perfect squeeze bunt as a streaking Gustaveson was making his way to plate and the Russets walked away with a 1-0 win to clinch the No. 3 seed on Monday's district tournament.
"When you see a pitcher in the wind up and moving to the plate slow like their's was, you have to take a chance," Shelley head coach Trent Armstrong said of the winning bunt." "We had missed squeeze bunts a couple of times earlier in the game, but this time if Braxton did not get it down Marcus was coming so hard towards the plate he would have bowled everybody over."
As the pitch from South Fremont pitcher Braxton Erickson was coming towards the plate Gustaveson broke towards the plate. As he reached halfway between the plate and the third base Smith squared to bunt catching all of the Cougars players off guard.
Gustaveson slide into the plate as Smith laid down the bunt scoring the run to end the game.
"We were still playing for seeding," Armstrong said. "Braxton did a good job getting the bunt down and Marcus broke at exactly the right time to score the run."
The game-winning bunt gave the Russets their first victory over the top seeded Cougars this season, the first meeting was a 2-1 South Fremont win.
Before the seventh inning rally, the Russets had a runner on third and no one out in the bottom of the sixth.
Kaden Schmitt lead off the inning with a double, he moved to third on a fly ball by Tyler Bean. But he would not score as the next two hitters grounded out and flew out to end the inning.
Schmitt was dominant on the mound during the first five innings of his start.
The Utah Valley commit struck out 10 Cougars and allowed one hit during his five innings. He also had a streak of six consecutive strikeout in the second, third and fourth innings.
Smith led the Russets with two hits.
Shelley will take on host Teton Monday at 4 p.m. at Teton High School in the opening round of the district tournament.
Shelley 1, South Fremont 0
South Fremont 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Shelley 000 000 1 — 1 7 1
South Fremont — Junior Gonzalez, Braxton Erickson (5) and Danny Huber. Shelley — Kaden Schmitt, Marcus Gustaveson (6) and Colt Johnson. 2B — Danny Huber (SHS), Kaden Schmitt (SHS), Marcus Gustaveson (SHS).