It's just really awesome, especially for these seniors. It's just great that we got to win a championship before they leave. I love those girls. —Kimbri Herring, Stansbury softball
ST. GEORGE — There's a first time for everything.
Stansbury's first time was Saturday.
After dropping the first championship game of the double-elimination 3A softball tournament Saturday afternoon, the Stallions were on the brink of faltering to a second-place finish. But they refused to quit.
Stansbury bounced back to beat Spanish Fork 6-3 in the second title game to capture the school's first state championship in any sport.
Elise Sutherland's second-inning home run tied the game at 3-apiece, and the Stallions never looked back. Kimbri Herring struck out five to earn the complete-game victory.
"It's just really awesome, especially for these seniors," said Herring, fighting back tears. "It's just great that we got to win a championship before they leave. I love those girls."
Stansbury was able to score the first run of the game in the bottom of the first when Karlee Manzione hit a single to right that brought in Beth Chipman.
Spanish Fork responded in the top of the second, scoring all three of its runs to take a 3-1 lead.
Kayla Larson hit a two-RBI double to give the Dons a 2-1 lead, and Kaylee Bott drove in a run off an error by the Stallions to make it 3-1.
After Stansbury's Lindsay Guymon got on base with a double down the left-field line in the bottom half of the frame, Sutherland stepped up and knocked it over the fence to tie the game at 3-3.
Sutherland, who had struggled for most of the tournament, took a pitch on the outside of the plate and crushed it over the center-field fence to tie the game and give the Stallions the spark they had been looking for.
"I didn't hit the ball well today," said Sutherland. "But when the moment is right, and the game is on the line, I just knew that it was going to happen."
Janessa Bassett scored on a passed ball later in the inning to give the Stallions a 4-3 advantage, and the lead for good.
Guymon scored on a passed ball in the fourth to make it 5-3, and Bassett drove in the Stallions' final run of the afternoon to make it 6-3.
After struggling a little bit in the first game, Herring was able to retire nine out of the last 12 batters she faced to end the second game.1 comment on this story
"She just had some nerves in that first game, but that was expected — she's a sophomore," said Stansbury head coach Bridget Clinton. "But she was able to calm down in that second game, and she pitched amazing like she has all season for us."
This game isn't the end for Stansbury's players, though. The Stallions have five seniors who all have scholarships to play collegiate softball, an amazing feat for a 3A school.
Meanwhile, the Stallions will have four returning starters next season, and have a lot of young talent coming up.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School. Follow CJ on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113