It is a lot to ask a pitcher to throw a great game; even tougher to ask her to swing the bat and tougher still to ask her to create offense. Kirtlyn was terrific today. —Salem Hills head softball coach Renae Kinghorn, on pitcher Kirtlyn Bohling

Salem Hills head softball coach Renae Kinghorn couldn't say enough about her team after her Skyhawks put together another great all around game in shutting out Woods Cross 4-0 in the second round of the 4A state softball tournament.

"We came out a little tight off of the big win on Tuesday," she said. "I told the girls the hitting wasn't always going to be as natural as it was in that game. We had to manufacture runs and push runs across the plate. We didn't do that very well earlier this season, but the girls are really stepping up in key situations now."

One of those who stepped up was co-captain and pitcher Kirtlyn Bohling, who played an all around great game, logging 14 strike-outs from the rubber and accounting for three other outs as well. Add a steady bat (3 for 3), and it left the coach in awe.

Of Bohling, Kinghorn said, "It is a lot to ask a pitcher to throw a great game; even tougher to ask her to swing the bat and tougher still to ask her to create offense. Kirtlyn was terrific today."

Another familiar player who has stepped up in recent games is junior shortstop Abbie Tuttle, who went 2 for 3, adding an RBI and scoring two of the Skyhawks' four runs.

"Abbie is coming on strong this time of year … again," Kinghorn said. "It is a huge time for her to come through in the clutch."

Solutions seem to be coming from every player at different times. Junior center fielder Tiffany Madsen continued to cause grief for the defense by hitting 2 for 4. Seniors Ashley Whiting, Kenna Davis (RBI) and Amelia Weight and junior Alex Oveson also added singles, while junior Kenzie Martin added a sacrifice RBI.

With all of that going on, you would think this was a walk in the park for Salem Hills, but it was anything but.

After a scoreless first inning, Woods Cross put pressure on the Skyhawk defense when Mannie Johnson singled to lead off. Pitcher Hanalee Robinson then reached on a walk, and Maddie Sorensen reached first on a fielder's choice, when Bohling threw to Davis to get the lead runner at third. Caitlin Barber then singled to load the bases, and it smelled like trouble for the Skyhawks with only one out.

However, Bohling was able to strike out the next two Wildcats to end the threat, leaving three runners stranded. In all, Woods Cross left nine runners on base. But it pressed again in the top of the seventh inning.

In that inning, Bohling got the first two batters to strike out, and it appeared that the end was near. Brooke Brown then sandwiched a single between walks by Lindsey Quinten and Alyson Lythgoe and the bases were loaded again. Fortunately for the Skyhawks, the next batter popped up to Tuttle to end the inning and the game.

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Thursday's game was the last game this group of seniors will play on their home field, and when asked about how she felt about that, coach Kinghorn immediately got emotional and couldn't speak for several minutes. When she finally did, it was with a sense of awe, pride and love for her entire team, and especially for her seniors.

She said, "I will miss this group of girls, seniors and others. They are very tough. They're just so much fun to be around, and they work so hard. They are more than just a team to me … they are all just such good people. I will never forget them. … and we still have work to do."

Woods Cross drops into the loser's bracket to play Bountiful next Tuesday. Salem Hills meets up with Bonneville in the winner's bracket semifinals on the same day.

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