HERRIMAN — Great games are expected when top region foes square off, and that’s exactly what Region 7 powerhouses Murray and Herriman produced Thursday afternoon. In the end it was the Spartans coming out on top of the hotly contested contest, 10-9.
The game featured a bit of everything: lead changes, clutch hitting, clutch pitching, great defensive plays and errors.
Unfortunately for Murray, the first three innings were largely defined by errors.
After scoring two runs by virtue of two Mustang errors in the top of the first, the Spartans committed five of their own over the next three innings to fall into a 5-2 deficit.
“That is the sort of stuff that drives you crazy as a coach,” said Murray coach Lisa Parker. “I don’t know if it was the cold weather or what, but the girls just came out tight, for whatever reason. But fortunately we were able to settle down and come away with a win against a very good Herriman team.”
Murray began its comeback in the top of the fourth courtesy of back-to-back RBI hits from junior Emily Adams and freshman Erin Hohnholt to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Herriman added a run in the bottom of the fourth, before Murray’s bats came alive in the top of the fifth. The Spartans scored five runs in the inning to build a 9-6 lead, with Adams topping off the effort with an RBI triple.
“I was so happy to see Emily have a big game like that because she’s been struggling from the plate a bit here of late. She‘s a great player for us,” Parker said. “Our bats definitely came alive in that inning and I think our base running was really good. We just settled down a bit and that inning really got us off and was the difference.”
Herriman wasn’t going down without a fight, however, and quickly tied it back up in the bottom of the fifth. With two-on and two-out, Cameron Simonsen ripped a single over the shortstop to square the score at 9-9.
Murray snatched the lead right back in the top of the sixth when freshman Emma Noble crossed the plate after providing a leadoff triple.
From there Murray locked down defensively for the final two innings to hold Herriman scoreless and come away with the win. Hohnholt led the defensive effort, pitching a complete game and saving her best stuff for the final two innings.
“It was so great for me, as their coach, to see two of my freshmen to step up and play like Erin (Hohnholt) and Emma Noble did today,” Parker said. “Erin was so tough pitching us through some tough situations and Emma was great with her bat, but was also really good for us defensively playing at second base.
"This was a huge game for both teams, so to have two of your youngest players like that step up makes me real happy.”
With the win Murray improves to 5-1 in region play, moving into a tie with Herriman for first place in Region 7.
“We’re really glad we were able to give Herriman their first loss of the year and I really like how we’re coming together as a team,” Parker said. “You saw how good Herriman is this year today with how those girls competed, so a win like this is huge for us. I think we’re improving as a team and I like that we got a good team effort today in winning a very important game.”
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