High school softball: Layton finishes strong to knock off Riverton in 5A tournament
TAYLORSVILLE — In a 5A state softball tournament bursting with talent and uncertainty, the Layton Lancers tried to make their name known and respected with an impressive 8-2 victory over 5A powerhouse Riverton Tuesday afternoon in the winners bracket semifinals at the Valley Complex.
“It helps us out a lot,” Layton coach Steve Spendlove said of his team’s clutch win. “These girls have been playing hard for this all year. Our mantra is just one more game — win one more game and that’s all we are going to keep doing. If a team is good enough to beat us then so be it.”
Layton (24-3, 10-2) has yet to run into a team good enough to end its notable season, though the Lancers' victory over Region 4 champ Riverton (16-9, 10-2) didn’t come as easy as the score may indicate.
Knotted up at 2-apiece heading into the seventh inning, Layton dug deep and rallied for six runs off eight hits to take a commanding 8-2 lead just three defensive outs away from advancing to the 5A winners bracket final.
“The girls really came through for us in that seventh inning,” Spendlove said. “I went and told them, ‘Hey, if you guys want it, it is there for the taking. You’ve got to go take it from them,’ and they did that today.”
Cassidy Anderson and Ray Gall set the pace for the Lancers at the plate, as they both went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Anderson went yard in the fourth and roped an RBI single in the seventh, while Gall tripled in the fourth and cracked a two-RBI single to spark Layton in the seventh.
“Cass and Ray are just both great players. They have been playing for us for four years now and this is what we’ve wanted to see,” Spendlove said. “They have just wanted to come (here) and make a splash, and they have been driving us all year.”
Meanwhile, Kel Smedley pitched the complete-game victory on the mound, as she gave up just four hits and two runs in a full seven innings of work to power Layton past the Silverwolves.
“She (Smedley) has been the heart of our team all year. She’s just been lights out for us,” Spendlove said. “Even when she has a bad game, she stays upbeat and she doesn’t let it show. Without her, I don’t know where we would be, because she really is the heart of our team.”
With the win, the Lancers move on to the 5A semifinals, where they will take on Bingham or Lehi.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724