BOUNTIFUL The fifth-ranked Braves put a pounding on West Tuesday afternoon to open the 4A softball playoffs. Bountiful's offense poured out 15 runs off 15 hits to grab the win after three innings of play with the mercy rule in effect.
Though Bountiful's offense has been impressive all season long, West entered the contest averaging nearly eight runs per game just above the Braves' season average. So the surprise didn't come at the plate for Bountiful, but rather at the plate for the usually potent Panther attack. The scary part was Braves' hurler Jessica Martin wasn't even at her best.
"I just felt like I was really off today," said Martin. "I really struggled with my control."
The Panthers didn't record a hit, but were able to advance a runner to third in every inning after five walks and four wild pitches by Martin. But the senior held tough and made the pitches she needed to when it mattered most.
"She (Martin) was off a bit today, but she still threw hard," said Bountiful coach Butch Latey. "We had a good practice yesterday and came out today and went after it."
Martin credited her teammates for playing good defense and for providing the runs. She finished with five strikeouts in the game.
The Braves scored in every inning, with the first two runs coming on a single by Lindsay Parkin. Parkin went on to score on a follow up single by Alli Hock. Parkin had moved into scoring position on the West throw to the cut off player on her own single. Bountiful was aggressive on the bases all game, using this strategy time after time.
The Braves tacked on five more runs in the second to jump out to an 8-0 lead. The highlight of the inning was a two-run homer to center by Taylor Austin.
"I'll tell you the surprise of the day came when our lefty slapper knocked a home run," said Latey. "She put down a bunt and had the home run for us."
The third inning proved disastrous for the Panthers, as every Brave reached base all but one on a hit. After extending the lead to 10-0, Kim Weese added three more with a long ball over the fence in center. The inning concluded with a double, single and error that allowed the final two runs to score.