BOUNTIFUL — After Bountiful’s big win over East High Tuesday, Braves head coach Butch Latey said he “was worried there would be a letdown” when his team faced Cyprus Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Payton Hart shared Latey's concern: “I knew it would be cold. We had a big win yesterday and we usually come out slow.”
The Braves did come out slow, failing to score in the first inning and falling behind the Pirates, 1-0. But Belle Stoddard jump-started the Braves with a home run to lead off the second inning. Stoddard lined her solo shot over the center field wall and the Braves never looked back, cruising to a 12-2 victory.
Stoddard finished the day with three hits, two RBIS and scored three runs. “Belle was amazing, as usual,” Latey said.
She wasn’t alone. Eight Brave batters contributed to the team’s 14 hits. Bailey Hart, Landi Hawker, Payton Hart and AnnMarie Allred each had two hits.
Latey said his team played smart and stayed within themselves. “We are hitting it where they are pitching it. We aren’t trying to do too much,” Latey added.
In addition to her stellar offense, Stoddard pitched a complete game for her 12th win of the season. She struck out five batters.
“Belle is a great pitcher. We love to face her because she is one of the best in the state,” Cyprus head coach Greg Henson said. “I was proud because we stood in there and hit the ball hard against her,” he continued.
The Pirates knocked seven hits, including two doubles by Celeste Castelan. The junior left fielder said each time she “went up (to bat) looking for an inside pitch and to hit it hard.” She went 2-3 with an RBI.
Despite Cyprus’ solid hitting, coach Henson said, “We just left too many girls on base.”
Already leading 1-0, Cyprus loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the second. Cyprus’ Alex Peterson drove a ball deep to right field. Bountiful right fielder AnnMarie Allred got a good jump and raced back to make the catch and end the inning.
Allred said she “felt really comfortable in the field and saw the ball well” when it left Peterson’s bat.
After the scoreless first inning, Bountiful scored in every other inning. Cyprus’ Peterson made several stellar defensive plays to keep the Braves from scoring even more.
“Coach (Henson) teaches if I can get there, I should get it,” the senior shortstop said. “I got outs and helped the team — that’s what matters.”
For the Braves, Payton Hart scorched a triple and Brook Dickerson hit a two-run double.
With the win, Bountiful moved to 12-1 on the season and 7-0 in Region 6. They face Clearfield Thursday in a matchup between the Region’s first- and second-place teams.
Cyprus fell to 3-11 (1-6 Region) and plays Woods Cross Thursday.
J. David Pearce is General Counsel with Beneficial Life Insurance Company.
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