Sandy • His teammates simply call him Otto, but the way American Fork pitcher Riley Otteson is pitching, that may as well be "Auto," as in an automatic win.
Another big game, another big win for the reigning Class 5A Most Valuable Player, who improved to 16-2 over the last two years.
Otteson gave up six hits and struck out nine over six innings Tuesday afternoon to lead American Fork to a 6-4 win over Alta in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball tournament.
"He's a big-time pitcher and doesn't let the moment get to him," American Fork coach Jared Ingersoll said about Otteson. "Riley is our horse. We're going to go as far as we can with him. He's such a competitor."
American Fork, the third seed from Region 4, took a 2-0 lead over Alta, the second seed from Region 3, thanks to run-scoring singles by Brock Lamb and Emmett Green.
The Cavemen scored three times in the fourth despite getting just one hit. Lamb led off the inning with a single and Green was hit by a pitch. Zac Willis laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to first was wide, which left the Cavemen with the bases loaded.
Alta starter Brett Snyder then walked Otteson to force in a run. Another run came home on a wild pitch, and Sean Hardman drove in the third run of the inning after he grounded out to second.
Alta answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning when Devin Relf singled, stole second and scored on a single by Gabe Farrer.
The Hawks threatened to tie the game in the sixth. Relf walked and scored on a triple from Kade Mathews. Alta then loaded the bases, and Chipper Lucero singled in two runs with two outs to cut the lead to 5-4, but Otteson picked off the runner at first to end the inning.
The Cavemen added an insurance run in the seventh with a pair of doubles by Koy Dibb and Austin Pitcher to give reliever Craig Brailsford some room for error.
He retired Alta in order in the seventh to earn the save.
American Fork will play Syracuse on Wednesday, while Alta will try to fend off elimination against Kearns.