An L. A. Baptist High baseball fan watching Friday's 9-6 Alpha League loss to visiting Montclair Prep thought he had figured out how to pitch to Keyaan Cook.
"Throw him a breaking ball away and then bust him inside," the spectator said of the Montclair Prep shortstop. "He'll ground out to second base."
The first two pitches to Cook were curveballs low and away and the next a fastball inside, but Cook didn't bite. L. A. Baptist pitcher Shane Wright's fourth pitch was a sharp curveball inside.
"It was the best pitch we threw Cook all day," L. A. Baptist Coach Dave Phillips said.
It looked good to Cook, too. He launched a home run that splashed down on top of the center field bleachers and gave Montclair Prep a three-run lead in the top of the seventh inning.
"No, you can't throw him curves," the fan said. "Did I mention that? Don't throw him a curve."
The seventh-inning home run capped an impressive day for Cook. In four plate appearances, the junior hit two home runs, a run-scoring single and drew an intentional walk. Cook also scored four runs and had three runs batted in.
"He's just a quality ballplayer," Phillips said. "The better you pitch him, the harder he hits the ball."
In the first, Cook rocketed a line-drive down the third-base line that bounced past Knight outfielder Eric Hein and rolled to the fence approximately 375 feet away.
Cook's run-scoring single in the fourth tied the score, 2-2, and he scored the Mounties' go-ahead run two batters later when Andy Shaw homered to right field.
Even when the Knights (10-2 overall, 0-1 in league play) decided not to pitch to Cook, he hurt them. In the fifth inning, with a runner on second and two out, Phillips walked Cook intentionally. Jared Baumblatt followed with a home run that gave Montclair Prep (7-5-1, 2-0) a 7-2 lead.
Scott Saklad shut down the Knights through the last 2 2/3 innings to record his fourth save. Starter Chris Anderson (5-0) pitched 4 1/3 innings for the win.