SPANISH FORK Winning on the road in sports is never easy, especially in the state tournament. However, the Riverton softball team had no reservations as they handily defeated Spanish Fork in its second-round matchup of the 5A State Tournament 7-3 on Thursday.
The game pitted the Region 7 first-seed Spanish Fork, against the Region 2 second-seed Riverton Silverwolves. The two teams got things started early as Riverton brought two runs across in the first, while Spanish Fork answered in the bottom of the inning as Tina Ferguson whacked a solo home run to cut the lead in half.
Riverton went on the offensive again in the fourth when Cassie Avery's infield single resulted in an RBI, and Trina Gomez sent anther run across on a fielder's choice groundball. Riverton pitcher Sami Powell held the Dons scoreless in their half of the fourth, and then doubles by Kelsey Hoopiiaina and Allee Carter added another Riverton run to push the lead to 5-1.
Hoopiiaina came up big again in the sixth with her second double of the game, driving in a run to put the game out of reach at 7-1.
"She's been struggling a little bit lately so this is good for her," said Riverton coach Emily Cederholm. "She's a spark plug for us, so when she can do that things are going well."
Doing her best to bring Spanish Fork back in the sixth was outfielder Aly Tingey. She mashed a solo dinger sending centerfielder Trina Gomez tumbling over the mesh fence in center as she gave chase. The blast hacked the lead to 7-2 heading into the final frame.
In the bottom of the seventh the Dons started a rally with consecutive singles by Whitney Holm and Lea Adamson. With two outs, Lindsee Thurgood smacked an infield single scoring Holm and keeping the Dons' hopes alive. Powell finally finished off Spanish Fork as she forced Kylee Brinkerhoff to groundout to solidify the Riverton victory.
"In the state tournament every game is a huge game," Cederholm said. "Everybody is going to come hard to play, so you've got to show up. That was our focus, to show up and play our game."
Following the loss, Spanish Fork coach Don Andrews was not pleased with his team's effort as he challenged his players to come back with a new attitude ready to win a state championship. Riverton moves on while the Dons will now have to fight their way out of the one-loss bracket.