Sisters Payton and Bailey Hart spurred the Bountiful Braves past the Clearfield Falcons in a softball matchup between last year’s top Region 6 teams. The sisters accounted for five hits and five runs in the Braves' 10-4 win.
Trailing for only the second time all year, the Braves erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 7-2 lead. Coach Butch Latey said the Braves “hit the ball hard.” During the inning, the Braves strung together eight hits, including hits by Caramae Fackrell, Landi Hawker, Kinley Trowbridge and Sydney Austin.
But the key hit came from Payton Hart, who drove in two runs on a hard-hit ball up the middle to give the Braves their first lead.
The Falcons scored first, striking on a massive two-run homer by sophomore Lexi Anderson. “She loves the game and plays hard,” Falcons coach Nicole Tindall said of Anderson.
Clearfield rallied for two runs in the fifth inning and had two runners on base with one out. Braves stand-out pitcher Belle Stoddard bore down and struck out two straight batters to end the inning. "Mentally she came back,” Latey said of Stoddard, and effectively ended all hopes of the Falcons coming back.
The end of the game came on a screaming line drive to center field. Running at full speed, Bailey Hart dove and made a spectacular catch for the final out.
"I love playing with (Bailey)," Payton Hart said of her sister, adding with a smile, "most of the time. We keep each other competitive and push each other to do better.”
Bountiful, which improved to 8-1 with the win, next faces arch-rival Woods Cross on the road Thursday afternoon.
J. David Pearce is general counsel with Beneficial Life Insurance Co.