Both coaches agreed. Neither Bountiful nor East was ready for their matchup Thursday.
“We came out lacking intensity and it showed,” East head coach Marianne Bullis said following Bountiful’s 11-0 win.
Bountiful wasn’t much better. Braves head coach Butch Latey said, “I saw we weren’t focused and got on them” after the second inning.
Belle Stoddard responded for the Braves in the top of the third inning with a two-run homer. “I haven’t been hitting great. My dad told me to swing only in my zone. I used a bigger bat today and waited for my pitch,” Stoddard said.
Stoddard’s home run staked the Braves to a 4-0 lead. She just missed hitting for the cycle, adding a double and two singles. She finished with 4 RBIs.
After Bountiful took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Leopards threatened. Laina SueSue walked to lead off the inning and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Cerina Aragon. Neece Kapuwai then smoked a line drive down the third base line, which was sure to score SueSue. Bountiful freshman Landi Hawker seemingly reached to the sky and snagged the line drive to end the rally.
“I didn’t know she had hops like that,” Stoddard said of Hawker. “I’d just walked a batter and she saved me and gave us some momentum.”
Bountiful extended its lead in the second on an RBI double by freshman first baseman Brook Dickerson. Dickerson, who has been hot of late, homered earlier in the week against Bear River.
“When I wasn’t hitting varsity (earlier in the year), I would stay after practice and work with the coaches to get better. I just wanted a chance to prove myself,” Dickerson said following her two-RBI performance.
Bountiful scored two more in the fourth inning with RBI singles from Hawker and AnnMarie Allred. They concluded the scoring in the fifth on a two-run double by Caramae Fackrell.
“I just knew we had to get runs in. I was looking to drive one into the gap,” Fackrell said of her third hit of the game.
Kristi DuBois also had two hits and scored three runs for the Braves.
For East, the offense was provided by junior Alex Sorrell. She finished with the Panthers' lone hits off Brave ace Stoddard. “I tried not to think about (Stoddard pitching). I just wanted to see the ball and hit it.”
East (14-8, 7-6) finishes the regular season with games against Highland and Cyprus. “We need to work on our intensity and get better. We want to finish the season strong,” East coach Bullis said.
With the win, Bountiful (18-1, 12-0) clinched the Region 6 title. It’s been a full schedule for the Braves, who recorded wins against Bear River and Cyprus earlier in the week.
“I told the girls this week was just like state — there are lots of games and it’s easy to go flat if you don’t stay focused,” Bountiful assistant coach Russ Stoddard said. “We have regrouped well all week,” he concluded.
Bountiful finishes the week on the road against Highland Friday.
David Pearce is general counsel with Beneficial Life Insurance Co.