MILLVILLE — No late-game heroics were needed this time around from the Cache Valley Sox.
Cache Valley jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and coasted to a 9-0 victory over Ridgeline in an American Legion game on Thursday night. Three weeks ago, the Sox scored in the seventh and rallied to beat the Mavericks, 2-1, in extra innings in the season opener for both baseball teams.
“We’ve struggled a lot with getting runs early this season and we came out this game a little more focused,” Cache Valley’s Caleb Archibald said. “You know, it’s Ridgeline. We’ve grown up with them our whole lives. We wanted to get ahead early and kind of put it on them this game, and not let them make it too close.”
Ridgeline (5-5) was in good shape to get out of the top of the first unscathed, but an error allowed Cache Valley (13-1) to score its first run. The Sox, who are comprised of recent Ridgeline and Mountain Crest graduates, then proceeded to score twice more with two outs. Singles by Archibald and Kyler Hansen pushed Cache Valley’s advantage to 3-0.
The early run support was more than enough for Hansen, who looked sharp in his three innings on the mound. No. 23 held the Mavericks hitless, struck out three and walked one.
“It helps a lot, actually,” Hansen said of pitching with an early lead. “There’s not so much pressure on me anymore. (Instead) it’s pressure on the other team to put the ball in play and score runs.”
The Sox, who had at least one hit in every inning except for the sixth, took advantage of a few pitches in the dirt to extend their lead in the third frame. Cache Valley manufactured a pair of runs — the second on a single by Kade Hansen that barely went over the first baseman’s head.
Cache Valley plated its other four runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by a RBI single from Kyler Hansen. The Sox strung together four hits in the frame and benefited from a couple of Ridgeline errors. Simply put, the Sox consistently put pressure on the Mavericks’ defense all game long.
“We hit the ball hard a lot tonight,” Archibald said. “We’re good one through nine (in our lineup). Everyone hits the ball hard and when we string hits together, we’re going to be a hard team to beat.”
Like Kyler Hansen, Archibald put together a strong performance at the plate and on the bump for the Sox. No. 0 singled, belted a nice double down the right-field line, walked, scored three runs and drove in another. Archibald also pitched the fourth and fifth innings for Cache Valley, gave up two singles, fanned four and walked one.
Kyler Hansen went 3 for 4 for the Sox, who got a pair of hits and RBIs from Kade Hansen, two base knocks from Hayden Simper and two runs from Mason Bowler and Jace Ward, who walked three times.
“It feels good just to come out every day and hit the ball, play the game of baseball,” Kyler Hansen said. “It’s a lot of fun. It felt good to hit the ball hard tonight.”
The Mavericks had a few opportunities to dent the scoreboard, but stranded seven base runners in the contest. Arguably Ridgeline’s best chance to break through was foiled by a well-executed 6-4-3 double play by Cache Valley’s Bowler, Austin Pond and Daxton Purser.
Marshall Hansen and Jake Astle finished with two base knocks apiece for the Mavericks, who also got a hit from Davis Fullmer. Astle smacked a nice double to deep center field in the bottom of the seventh.