If a close Murray High win is considered a slump, what would the Spartans consider a loss to be? Murray softball coach Lisa Parker doesn't want to find out.
The top-ranked Spartans broke open a tie game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat Sky View 3-1 in the first round of the 4A state tournament Tuesday.While happy for the victory, it was just a bit too close for comfort for Parker, whose team went 16-0 in region play, thanks to a powerful hitting lineup.
"I think it was nerves . . . I could tell that in our pre-game warmup," said Parker. "We just didn't put it together as far as hits. . . . I think that was our slump of the season."
The Spartans rapped out six hits off Sky View pitcher Mary Paxton, but it wasn't until the sixth inning that they could put any of them together. Parker admitted that she started getting nervous, "when our bats didn't start coming around."
The Bobcats scored first when Paxton led off the game with a single and crossed the plate after one-out fielder's choice by Kara Tarbet. Murray pitcher Cari Dallof shut down Sky View the rest of the way, allowing just a single in both the sixth and seventh innings.
The Spartans tied the game in the second inning when Hallie Nielson moved from first to third on a pair of passed balls and scored on a throwing error.
Murray then gained its breathing room when Brianne Ashworth led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Laura Nelson. Dallof then gave herself an insurance run by adding a run-scoring single in the inning.
"Critical errors cost us the ball game. We beat ourselves, but credit Murray," said Sky View head coach Amy Wellard. "We had a tough matchup. . . . I thought we gave them a good game."
Thanks to the new double-elimination format, the Bobcats can still achieve their goal of making it to the Cottonwood Complex next week if they can win at Pleasant Grove on Thursday.
Murray meets Region 4 third seed Fremont on Thursday.