High school softball: Seniors lead Copper Hills Grizzlies to first softball state title
Copper Hills scored the game’s first run in the first inning when Skylar Cook scored on freshman Ashlee Anderson’s double. The Miners held the team scoreless until the fifth inning. Kierra Siddoway and Paige Watts both got on base with singles, and then with two outs, Cook was able to get on base because of a throwing error that allowed Siddoway to score. Watts and Cook scored when Anderson hit her second double of the game.
It looked like Bingham would come back when Paige Reimann hit a single to get on base and then Clemens followed with a single of her own. Emily Lewis ripped a double that scored courtesy runner Sara Bendt.
With the tying and winning runs on base, Johnson called a timeout.
“Calling a timeout, going out there, talking to them and telling them anything can happen, it’s not that big of a deal, we just need two outs and then having it be the next pitch and the next play, I couldn’t have written it any better,” said Johnson of the double play that followed that timeout. A line drive was caught by North, who said she did as she was trained to do and threw to second for a double play that ended the game.
“It’s surreal,” said Johnson of earning the first state title for Copper Hills’ softball program. “I can’t even describe it. Copper Hills is going to be a school to be reckoned with for a long time now.”
Clayson and North said the biggest difference between their sophomore year, when they didn’t make the state tournament, and their junior year, when they took second in the state, is Johnson. The former Hillcrest three-sport star is intense and exuberant, and she said she questioned her own methods a few times this season.
“Sometimes I did (think I pushed too hard),” she said. “I am an intense coach. You can see it on the sidelines. You can see I get upset. I show it on my face, and I verbalize it. And sometimes I’ve thought, 'Am I a little too hard on these girls?' And every time I think that, I think of a game just like this. If I’m easy on them all the time, it’s easy for them to back down. I knew because of my intensity, that they could handle that intense of a game.”
The Miners actually had more hits than the Grizzlies in earning a rematch with the team that sent them into the one-loss bracket Wednesday night. Bingham had to beat Lehi 7-6 in a 2:30 p.m. contest to earn the right to face Copper Hills again.
“You get beat like that the night before,” said Bingham coach Mikki Jackson, referring to the 15-0 loss Bingham suffered against Copper Hillls Wednesday, “you know, it shows there is heart inside of these guys to come back because they could have rolled over. They battled through some tough moments. I’m pleased with what they accomplished.”
Johnson said she knew Bingham would be back — stronger and tougher.
“I knew Bingham was hungry, and I knew they’d be ready,” said Johnson.
Seconds later she was doused in ice water, after which she lead the team, parents and student body in a cheer.
“Copper Hills!” she yelled with that same intensity. “How do you feel?”
And they responded, as she smiled, “We feel good! Oh, we feel so good.”
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