TAYLORSVILLE — In a battle between what are considered to be the two top teams in 4A softball, Murray beat Box Elder 5-1 on Tuesday afternoon. With the win, the Spartans advance to the semifinals of the winners bracket in the state softball playoffs.
"This is obviously where we want to be," said Murray coach Lisa Parker. "Box Elder is a great team and I wouldn't be surprised at all if we faced them again in the tournament, but I'm very proud of how my girls played today."
Murray used solid team defense, a dominant pitching performance by Elise Johnson and sharp base running in the seventh inning to come away with the win.
Holding a narrow 2-1 lead entering the final inning, Courtney Beavers led off with a double, followed by a single by Kenzie Gray. On Gray's hit to center, Beavers took a sharp turn at third — forcing a throw to home before retreating to third. With the throw to home, Gray then advanced to second, drawing a throw to second, which allowed Beavers to score.
Later in the inning, with runners on first and third and no one out, Echo Lee scored from third as Elise Johnson drew a throw to second attempting to steal.
"I was sort of surprised that it worked in that situation, but we'll take it," said Parker about Lee's run. "Overall, I think we just played a very solid game with our fielding, base running and we got some good hits."
Lee contributed an RBI double in the seventh with Emily Adams adding a solo home run over the centerfield fence in the fourth that gave Murray a 2-1 edge. Johnson allowed eight hits, but just a single run, pitching a complete game for the Spartans.
Murray committed no errors against the Bees.
"Elise (Johnson) was great today and our fielding really picked her up," said Parker. "I like how we're playing and I obviously like where we are in the tournament."