SPRINGVILLE The Springville softball team jumped on Snow Canyon early and held on to triple up the Warriors for the 9-3 victory in the highly anticipated second-round match-up in the 4A state tournament.
The Red Devils racked up the hits from the first inning, scoring early and often in the first two, then coasting to victory as they set about proving that their team isn't just a great pitching squad. Six different batters combined on 11 hits to propel the Red Devils to victory, led by a smoking home run off the bat of sophomore catcher Brittany McCray.
The power hitter had Snow Canyon fans jittery every time they saw her step on deck, and after knocking in three runs with the long ball to left center, she launched a ground rule double down the third base line in the second inning, forcing the Warriors to be more selective in their pitches to her for the rest of the game. Her last two at bats were walks.
Though she's not always happy about the pitches she has to take, McCray said, "I just take the walk rather than looking crazy," then adding about her superb power hitting of late, "I just swing for line drives in the gaps."
"She's been focused. She's dialed in and if that ball's near that plate, she's gonna punish it," said Springville coach Carl Jensen about his leading power hitter.
But it wasn't just McCray that hit the ball hard as Kandice Kirkham came in behind the catcher in the Springville lineup and picked up three singles of her own along with a pair of RBIs.
"Kandice is on fire. She hits it hard and does her thing. She's stroking the ball well," added Jensen.
Walks to Sarah Clark and Keeli Chalk in the bottom of the first put a pair of runners on base for McCray when she launched the home run, giving the Red Devils an important early advantage and plenty of momentum.
Then in the bottom of the second Holli Averett led things off with a single, followed by an error and singles to Chalk and Kirkham, which were sandwiched by the McCray double. That all combined for a four-run second and a 7-1 lead.
The Red Devils picked up some insurance runs in the fifth on a Mariah Jensen double, two more Snow Canyon errors and another single by Kirkham.
"Mariah had a couple of nice hits and a nice catch. She's suffered from some injuries this year, but she usually hits line drives, so that's why she's where she is in the lineup," said Carl Jensen, who was also proud of his defense.
Despite picking up 12 strike outs against and extremely potent Warrior lineup, he said Clark was having a bit of an off day from the circle, but she was able to work on a few things to help the team into next week.
The Snow Canyon hitters were able to manufacture four runs on five hits as Lindsey Adams led them with a double, a single and a walk. Leadoff hitter Whitney Dunlop also had a productive afternoon with a pair of singles, a run and an RBI.Springville goes on to play Murray in the winners bracket next Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. At Valley Complex, while Snow Canyon falls into the one-loss bracket against Woods Cross on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
E-mail: [email protected]