High school softball: Late heroics lift Copper Hills to victory
Emily Sweet came through late, knocking in two runs to lift Copper Hills to a 5-4 extra-innings victory over Viewmont Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s the first win of the year for us and really big for us. I was just trying to get a deep pop fly to the outfield to score the tying run and then it ended up being a home run which is what we needed,” said Sweet, who was 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs. “I didn’t think it was going to go over, but I was looking to attack the first pitch, which was right down the middle.”
Sweet ended a crazy game for the Grizzlies as they were chasing the Vikings the entire game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning down 3-1, Copper Hills (1-2) came through with some clutch at-bats to tie it and send it into extra innings.
Lacie Tulin led off the seventh with her only hit on the day. Riley Cleverly, the starting pitcher for the Grizzlies, followed with her third double of the day, putting runners at second and third with no outs for center-fielder Dani Hamilton. Hamilton got Tulin in with a ground ball to second, pulling the Grizzlies to within one run. Ashlee Anderson then followed up with another ground ball out to bring in Cleverly, tying the game at 3-3.
When asked what change occurred in the seventh to tie the game, Copper Hills head coach Jentry Johnson said, “Our girls focused a little bit more, and the focus changed to having to do it. It was in the seventh inning, and we had to do it.”
In extras, Viewmont (2-1) came through in the top of the eighth with catcher Emily Robb’s RBI fly-out bringing in a run that put the Vikings up 4-3. Robb, meanwhile, had a spectacular individual game, going 3 for 3 while hitting in all four RBIs for her team.
In the bottom half of the inning is when the fireworks started for Copper Hills.
Paige Watts' sacrifice bunt moved a Grizzlies runner to third, setting the stage for Sweet’s game-winning homer.
Lost in the chaotic ending was the duel between the starting pitchers for the majority of the game.
Cleverly had a pitching performance she can look to all season long to gain strength from as she pitched seven strong innings — giving up four hits, three runs and two walks. Cleverly’s pitching performance helped keep the Grizzlies in the game until the ending. Cleverly went 3 for 4 with the bat to conclude her overall performance.
“Riley did awesome. Riley’s been one of our hardest workers, and it was her first big start and full game in nearly two years,” Johnson said about Cleverly’s return to being a starting pitcher.
On the other side of the hill was Eliza Thornley for Viewmont. She went eight strong innings, giving up 12 hits on five runs, but the ending line doesn’t tell her story. Thornley consistently battled out of jams throughout the first seven innings. Thornley was in line for a win until her final pitch of the day.
But on this day, the game belonged to Sweet and her heroics to stun the Vikings.
“We’ve been working so diligently at finishing what we’ve started. As long as we’re getting better and as long as we’re learning, we’re going to be where we want to be, and I think that’s what played true today,” said Johnson.
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