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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Spanish Fork's Brooke Carter rounds third on her way to home as Spanish Fork and Riverton girls compete in softball action at Spanish Fork on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

SPANISH FORK — There are many ways to ring in a new season, and on Wednesday afternoon at the Spanish Fork Sports Complex, the Mighty Dons chose the best possible way. Led by the strong pitching of senior Cambrie Hazel, as well as the timely hitting of junior Jordyn Bate, Spanish Fork pummeled the Riverton Silverwolves 11-0.

Hazel, one of five key returners from the Mighty Dons 2016 championship team, pitched a nearly flawless game, holding Riverton scoreless through five innings. Bate, for her part, finished the game 3-for-4 with two triples and a team-high five RBIs.

“Cambrie is not where she should be right now, but she’ll get there,” said Spanish Fork head coach Don Andrews. “Tonight, she got stronger as the game went on, and that is a good sign. As for Jordyn, Jordyn’s got the quickest bat of any girl I have ever coached. And that is since 1994. The bat is quick. You saw that today.”

In addition to the aforementioned stars, Mallory Barber, Sam Cowden and Brylee Rudd all contributed RBI singles on behalf of Spanish Fork, in what proved to be a 15-hit afternoon by the home team.

“These are good hitters,” said Andrews. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of instruction to get them to hit.”

It didn’t take long for them to hit either. In the first inning alone, the Mighty Dons racked up four runs on four hits, with Bate initiating the onslaught with an RBI single. Brooke Carter and Gabby Beckstrom followed her up with back-to-back sacrifice flies, and Cowden capped off the inning with an RBI single of her own.

Spanish Fork would go on to add another run in the third inning, this time on an RBI groundout by Cowden.

Trailing 5-0 entering the fourth, Riverton tried to make some noise. Through the first three innings, the Silverwolves had been stymied by Hazel, to the tune of just two hits. Things started much the same in the fourth, that is until Taylor Eakle reached base after being hit by an errant Hazel pitch.

Marti McCurdy came in as a pinch runner for Eakle, and Katelyn Whiting drilled a single right up the middle of the infield to give the Silverwolves a runner in scoring position, their first of the game.

Freshman Claire Heitz stepped into the box next, already in possession of one of the few hits given up by Hazel. Unfortunately for Riverton, Heitz grounded out to end the inning.

Not content with just a 5-0 victory, considering the Mighty Dons lost to Riverton 4-3 last season, Spanish Fork laid it on the visitors in the bottom of the fourth.

Hazel got involved with a leadoff single, and Aislyn Sharp followed with her second walk of the game. Barber then etched her name in the box score with an RBI single, after which, Bate notched her first triple of the afternoon.

At the end of the fourth, Spanish Fork led 9-0 and was well on its way to victory.

The Mighty Dons added two more runs in the fifth, all courtesy of Bate. The junior, locked in a tough battle with Riverton reliever Eryn Williams, smacked a ball to deep right field, scoring Hazel. When the Silverwolves attempted to throw Bate out at third, the passed ball allowed Bate to stroll on home, ending the game.

“This was a lot of fun,” said Bate. “They beat us last year, so it was good to get them back.”

As for the Mighty Dons' upcoming season, Bate made no predictions and added simply, “We will just have to see what is going to happen.”

Up next, Spanish Fork will take part in the Sunroc Invitational, starting Friday, March 17. Riverton next plays Wednesday, March 21, against the West High Panthers.

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