Storied Alta Hawks softball falls to up-and-coming Skyhawks

By Troy Bohling

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, April 14 2014 10:11 p.m. MDT

Alex Oveson gets ready to run as the Skyhawks defeat Alta 7-2 in non-region action on Monday.

Janae Oveson

When a team faces Alta in softball, there is a lot of history to consider: great pitching, solid hitting and consistent defense. Oh yeah, and the six state championships Alta owns, including three in a row. Salem Hills was able to overcome the Hawks' history and put together a solid performance of its own against an excellent opponent, defeating Alta 7-2.

Skyhawk coach Renae Kinghorn has seen a resurgence in her team over the past couple of weeks. After difficult losses to Springville, Spanish Fork and Manti, Salem Hills has not lost in the past seven games.

"We have just started getting back to loving the game and playing the game because we love it," Kinghorn said. "It has been a slow process, and frankly, we've struggled after a great state run last year. We have had a very difficult non-region schedule, and we play in probably the toughest region in the state. All of that put together, and I think we may have forgotten that this is a game and that it is meant to be fun."

Salem jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when second baseman Kenzie Cowden scored off an overthrow to first as Tiffany Madson (2 for 4) bunted for a base hit.

Alta answered and took the lead in the top of the third, getting a single from pitcher Brooke Vanderheide (3 for 4) and a double and an RBI each from Brittni Chase and Lilian Ertman, scoring two runs in the inning.

The Skyhawks answered back immediately in the bottom of the inning with three singles, one each by Madson, Alexis Oveson (2 for 3, RBI) and Annalee Castleberry (2 for 4, 3 RBIs) to retake the lead, one they would not relinquish.

Helping the Skyhawk effort, six different batters reached base in the game by being hit by a pitch, one in each inning. That put Alta in a difficult defensive situation, and the Skyhawks were able to convert steadily as the game wore on, scoring one run in the fourth and three in the sixth inning.

In the sixth, the story wasn't as much the Skyhawk bats as it was Alta's defense. With two Salem Hills batters reaching bases on balls, another when Abbie Tuttle (RBI) was hit by a pitch and yet another by error, Alta was unable to keep the Skyhawks from scoring.

Alta's bats were held at bay throughout the game by Kirtlyn Bohling, who contributed 12 strike-outs to the Skyhawks' cause.

Alta drops to 10-5, with a big matchup against Bingham looming next Tuesday. With the win, Salem Hills moves to 10 wins, 5 losses and two ties.

The Skyhawks seem to have been able to put the past behind them and are now focusing on each game, one at a time. While Alta's history is well-etched in the record books, the Skyhawks are still writing theirs, approaching the rest of this season enjoying the ride, making small advances each game.

That perspective reminds us that it is still a game and it is meant to be fun.

Troy Bohling can be contacted at troy.bohling@nebo.edu.

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