LEHI After being crushed by Springville 13-3 on Wednesday, the Lehi softball team spent a lot of practice time on Thursday emphasizing the importance of being aggressive at the plate.
Friday afternoon, that aggressiveness paid off as the Pioneers (1-1) pounded out 10 hits en route to a 6-4 victory over Manti (0-1).
"We took a lot of time in practice yesterday focusing on being aggressive," said Pioneers coach Leslee Warr. "We hit a lot better."
Sophomore Brianne McBride led the hit parade for the Pioneers, finishing with two singles and four RBIs. Mcbride, who is described by Warr as shy, couldn't help but smile after the game.
"I'm excited," she said. "It feels good to be able to hit."
After shutting the Templars down in the first inning, Lehi wasted little time getting a lead. With one out, Shelby Lund singled. Following a double by Ariel Zimmerman that pushed Lund to third, McBride slashed another single to collect her first two RBIs of the game and give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead.
The Templars benefited from a couple costly Pioneers mistakes in the third to tie the score at two. McKenzie Blauer led off the inning with a walk. Chelsea Cox then pushed Blauer to second on a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Felicia Bailey moved the runners to second and third, Pioneers pitcher Ashley Zimmerman threw a wild pitch, allowing Blauer to score. Cox ended up scoring on the play as well when Pioneers catcher Mardi Massa tossed the return throw past Zimmerman.
The two teams stayed tied until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Pioneers finally took the lead back. Marci Gray led off the inning with a double into the right center field gap. After a sacrifice bunt pushed her to third, Aly White laid down a squeeze bunt that ended up confusing Templars pitcher McKenzie Hatch. Hatch noticed Gray starting to move away from third base, but not enough to think she would run home. By the time Hatch turned to throw to first, White was already there. With the ball still in her hand, Hatch turned around to make sure Gray was still on third, After she turned around, White hustled to second. On the next play, Ariel Zimmerman tapped the ball back to Hatch. Hatch bobbled the ball, though, and wasn't able to throw anybody out. McBride then came up and lined a single to left, scoring Gray and White, and giving the Pioneers a 4-2 lead.
The Pioneers extended their lead to 6-2 in the sixth on a two-run home run by Lund.
The Templars got two back in the seventh on a two-out two-run single by Haley Hatch but that was it as McKenzie Hatch flied out to left field to end the contest.
Despite the loss, Templars coach Susan Hatch was pleased with her girls' performance.
"For the third day on the field, not bad," she said. "We have a young team that's had to step up in a spot they haven't experienced before. We lost a lot of varsity girls last year."