High school softball: Ashley Clayson propels Copper Hills to walk-off win over Riverton
WEST JORDAN — The Copper Hills Grizzlies seem to have a knack for producing exciting finishes during Wednesday home games.
For the second consecutive week, the Grizzlies came through with a walk-off hit. This time, it came at the end of an incredible 4-3 victory over the previously undefeated Riverton Silverwolves (6-1) Wednesday.
Catcher Ashley Clayson came through for Copper Hills (4-5) in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI single to win the game for her Grizzlies.
“I was just thinking, 'Hit the ball. Get it in play no matter what,' and just hoping to score my teammate and come out with a win,” said Clayson after her 2-for-4, two RBI day. “I was looking for a change-up and she threw me an inside pitch and I was still ready for it and just went with it.”
The Grizzlies were in need of a big hit because Riverton relief pitcher Courtney Platt, who entered the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, was completely shutting down the Grizzlies' offense in the three innings before the last stanza. Platt finished with five strikeouts in four innings of relief.
Riverton had tied the game at 3-all in the top of the sixth. First, KyRae Kogianes came through with an RBI triple to the fence, cutting Riverton's deficit to 3-2. Ashlynn Peterson then came through with an RBI bunt single to tie the game.
Earlier, the Silverwolves had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when second basemen Kaylee Jaussi crushed a ball over the Grizzlies' centerfielder's head for an RBI double.
But just as quickly as Riverton went ahead, it gave up its lead in the bottom half of the third.
Copper Hills came through with three of its own runs to lead 3-1. Clayson came through huge again, as she belted the ball for an RBI double. The following batter, Emily Sweet, who was last Wednesday's walk-off hero, came through with her lone hit on the day, a two-run double.
Copper Hills head coach Jentry Johnson said all these intense situations are making her young team grow up fast.
“We’ve been in a lot of pressure situations already early in the year, and all those pressure situations start to help a young team build more confidence,” said Johnson. “As far as how we keep coming through with the wins, we never leave a drill undone, and we try to breed into these girls and make them believe that we finish what we start.”
Lost in the fantastic ending was the fabulous start made by starting pitcher and birthday girl Payten Davies.
Davies finished with a complete-game victory. She had four strikeouts and only one walk in seven innings on her 16th birthday.
“Honestly, she did great. She’s been doing well for us. She’s growing into a mature pitcher, someone who knows the counts and someone who is growing as a varsity pitcher,” said Johnson.
Locating her pitches helped Davies in tight situations throughout the game, she said.
“It’s a good feeling. I just threw hard, and I knew my defense had my back and I just threw the ball and let them field it and get the out,” said Davies.
Davies was asked if this spectacular pitching performance and exciting finish for her team made her birthday that much better.
“Yes," was her emphatic reply.