Bountiful was unspectacularly efficient in its 8-0 win over Woods Cross on Tuesday. The Braves used timely hitting, stellar pitching and flawless defense to win their eighth straight game.
“We weren’t ready to play at first, even though we got four runs in the first,” Bountiful head coach Butch Latey said following the Braves' second shutout of their arch rivals in as many games this season.
The Braves used five hits and an error to score the first four runs of the game. After sisters Bailey and Payton Hart reached base with one out in the bottom of the first, Belle Stoddard, Kristi DuBois, Caramae Fackrell and Landi Hawker hit consecutive RBI singles to stake the Braves to a 4-0 lead.
“We struggled in the first and dug ourselves a hole. You can’t make mistakes against Bountiful,” said Chad Lythgoe, the Woods Cross head coach.
The four-run lead was all Braves pitcher Belle Stoddard would need to earn her 14th win this year. Stoddard struck out seven batters en route to recording her sixth shutout of the season.
“It’s so awesome to be out there pitching with my team. I just want ground balls because I know our defense will make plays. It’s comforting to know we are out there as a team.” Stoddard said.
Latey echoed her thoughts. “Defensively we were very good today,” he said. Bountiful second baseman Sydney Austin led the way, recording seven outs.
Woods Cross sophomore pitcher Hanalee Robinson worked hard to limit Bountiful’s chances and keep the Wildcats within striking distance. In the second inning, the Braves loaded the bases and threatened to blow the game open. But Robinson struck out three of the next four batters to end the rally and get out with only one run scored.
“Hanalee is a special player. She is very talented. She is young but experienced. We’ve got to help her more,” Lythgoe said.
The Braves tacked on two runs in the fourth inning. Following a lead-off double by Stoddard, Fackrell and AnnMarie Allred hit RBI singles.
Bountiful concluded the scoring in the fifth when Kristi DuBois doubled in a run.
Woods Cross' biggest threat came in the third inning. Daphne Robinson lined a bullet up the middle to reach base for the second time. “I was looking for my pitch. I wanted to be aggressive and drill a good pitch,” the senior said. The next batter, Bre Price, hit a sharp line drive to center, but it was hauled in by Bountiful’s Bailey Hart to end the inning.
Despite the win, the Braves weren’t satisfied. “We were a little slow at first. We need to start stronger and play better” Bountiful left fielder Caramae Fackrell said.
Bountiful improved to 14-1 (9-0 Region 6) with the win. It next faces Highland on Thursday. Woods Cross fell to 5-10 (3-6 Region 6). “We have a big week ahead of us still,” Lythgoe said as the Wildcats play Clearfield Wednesday and East Thursday.
David Pearce is general counsel for Beneficial Life Insurance Co.