TAYLORSVILLE Defending champion Taylorsville's offensive firepower was more than Pleasant Grove could handle Thursday, allowing the Warriors to grab the 6-3 win and advance with no losses to the third round of the 5A state tournament.
"All of them kind of stepped up and got a base hit," Taylorsville coach Rich Kaelin said. "Our girls have battled like this all year long."
The young Pleasant Grove team didn't look one bit nervous to start the game, working Taylorsville pitcher Ashlee Moore to deep counts, waiting patiently for good pitches and jumping out to the early 1-0 lead.
"We expected them to be really good," Taylorsville senior Marqi Gray said. "Our pitchers can handle anything, though. I know they can pitch out of anything."
Taylorsville got on the board on the bottom of the second when Nicole Huntsman hit a double to bring around Gray. The tale of the game came in the bottom of the third, however, when the Warriors batted through the line-up to put a huge rally together. Pleasant Grove freshman pitcher Angie Mikalauski got outs out of two of the first three batters and then the wheels fell off.
With Tia Palauni on first due to a fielder's choice, Cyd Allen walked and then Gray got the hitting started with a double that brought in Palauni. Heather Gardner followed that up with a two-run double and then immediately scored off a Michon Vanderpoel single. Huntsman doubled to bring in Vanderpoel for the final run of the inning.
"That was a fun inning," Huntsman said. "I think we were just relaxed at the plate and went up there knowing we could do it."
The Vikings grabbed two runs in the fourth off a throwing error by Taylorsville catcher Allen to keep the game competitive, but Moore pitched three innings with only one hit to end the game without a threat.
"I was pleased with how Ashlee refocused, regrouped and was able to finish the game strong," Kaelin said.
Huntsman had two RBIs and one run to go along with her two doubles, while Gray had two runs and an RBI to go along with her two hits. Gardner added a pair of RBIs and a run for the Warriors. Mikalauski and Haley Engemann each had two hits to lead the Vikings in the loss.
"The thing about Mikalauski is I feel bad she's going to be around for three more years," Kaelin said with a laugh. "She's a force to be reckoned with and she should be proud of how she battled."With the win, Taylorsville will meet Northridge Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. at Valley Softball Complex.