High school softball: Salem Hills Skyhawks smack Provo, soar into second straight 4A final
“We are not an extremely fast team, so it was a risk to steal bases at the beginning. But it paid off. And I didn’t think that they would expect it, so took their catcher by surprise and frazzled them and gave us some momentum at the beginning.
“We didn’t hit the ball extremely well at the beginning of the game," Kinghorn said, "and so we needed to manufacture runs somehow. I knew that Kirtlyn would have a pretty good game. It was a very weird game all around."
Salem Hills senior catcher Kaylee Simons walked three times, knocked in three runs and scored twice, and then she donned her cap and gown for an impromptu graduation ceremony at home plate following the Skyhawks’ victory.
Abbie Tuttle had three hits, a pair of RBIs and scored four runs, while Amelia Weight had a pair of singles and two more RBIs and Tiffany Madson had two more hits and crossed home plate three times to help put Salem Hills one win away from the state championship.
“What I’ve learned with this group of girls is that I just try not to overcoach them,” Kinghorn said. “I feel like a lot of times coaches say too much and then it kind of freaks people out. And we’re a young team and I kind of like our ignorance, if that’s the right word. You start putting tons of pressure on them — ‘You lose this game and you’ve got to play three tomorrow, and Kirtlyn can’t pitch every game’ — ... and it starts to work ’em up.
“So basically I just treated it like a normal game, and that’s the beauty of softball is that it doesn’t change — you have to run; you have to throw; you have to catch. As long as we control what we can control, I think we’ll be successful. I’m not a very high-pressure person; I’m kind of a laid-back person. We know we can beat any team here, we know we can, and I think that confidence is good. And I’ll tell you what: Getting that many runs in the last inning, I think, was a huge boost for our bats that struggled on and off over the year.
“My heart breaks for Taylor (Allman). I know she was hurting; she’s pitched a lot this week,” the Skyhawks’ coach said. “The softy in me, my heart hurts for her that we crushed her, and I think everybody was surprised that we did because we haven’t done it all year.”