COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS On a bright sunny afternoon, it was a deluge of baserunners that did in the Brighton Bengals.
Hoping to take advantage of their home field, the Bengals couldn't keep up with Hunter in the 5A state softball tournament. The Wolverines came into enemy territory, rapped 18 hits, and took advantage of five Brighton errors to roll to a convincing 14-8 win.
Hunter advanced into the winners bracket and will play at Fremont today. Brighton faces a loser-out game again at home against American Fork.
Both clubs will be hoping to jump to a big lead. Hunter scored eight times in the second inning Tuesday and enjoyed the confidence it gained with that big inning.
The big play was a hard-hit single by Dayana Jenkins that rolled all the way to the fence, and scored three runners. Miranda Woods was Hunter's big hitter, with four hits for the Wolverines, who were never threatened after the second inning.
"The girls really stepped up," said Hunter coach Brandy Pickett. "We had our down period earlier this season, and we're on our way back. We were able to put people on the bases, and we got more aggressive."
Saphina Butler, Ashley Hobbs, Ashley Gibson and Desiree Gibson started things off in the second inning with singles. Then, with two outs, Jenkins smacked a liner that rolled through the center fielder's legs and didn't stop until it reached the chain-link fence. Miranda Wood's single scored Jenkins, then Latisha Webster doubled her home. Shelby Almond plated the last run of the inning with an RBI single.
"This win was good for our self-esteem," Pickett said. "We were able to really hit the ball well."
The big inning made the score 9-1. In state tournament play, with two good teams, Brighton's young group knew it had a tough hill to climb.
The Bengals picked up single runs in the first five innings against Hunter pitchers Butler and Jenkins, who relieved in the fourth inning. But they couldn't catch up.
Hunter picked up two more runs in the third on Woods' third hit, a single run in the fifth and Shade Wilkinson's single plated two more in the sixth.
"Too many errors," said Brighton coach Mike Terry. "What else can I say?"
He could say that his club was hurt by the loss of his daughter, Kayla Terry, who is nursing a spleen injury and it's not known whether she'll play again this season. While the Bengals did hurt themselves defensively, their offense was fine.
Brighton had 13 hits, but the Bengals also had two baserunners thrown out at the plate.