HAYDEN NIELSEN, Spanish Fork, baseball: The senior, who had missed most of the past month with back problems, threw five scoreless innings in Spanish Fork's regular-season finale, a 5-0 victory over second-place Payson that wrapped up the Region 12 title for the Dons with a perfect 10-0 record.
"Win or lose today, seeing Hayden go out there and pitch five scoreless innings — that's a huge plus for us," said Spanish Fork coach Jim Nelson. "You want all hands on deck entering the state playoffs, and Hayden is one of our main guys, so that was probably the best thing about today's win."
Nielsen ran his season record to 5-1 with the win for the top-ranked Dons, who open 3A state tournament play Saturday.
SHELBY ABEYTA, Copper Hills, softball: It is difficult to find a situation that might rattle this senior pitcher. As a sophomore, she battled — and beat — ovarian cancer. As a junior, she established herself as one of the team's hardest working contributors.
And as a senior, she's become the woman the team relies on — rain or shine.
"She's been our go-to gal on the mound," said Copper Hills head coach Jentry Johnson. "She's faced a lot of difficult opponents, difficult situations and she's kept her composure on the mound."
In addition to being a reliable starter, she's also taken on the role of closer lately.
"She's given us stamina," said Johnson. "She's one of the captains and she's really upbeat and positive, regardless of what's going on. She always has positive things to say."
She works just as hard off the field and earned an academic all-state recognition this year. She will graduate in the top 7 percent in her class.
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