KAYSVILLE Sheila Adams said she wasn't thinking about hitting the ball out of the park when she stepped into the batter's box in the eighth inning of Layton's playoff game against Weber.
"I was thinking base hit," said the senior who hit her first out-of-the park home run this season in leading Layton to a 4-1 win over Weber in the one-loss bracket of the 5A state softball tournament. "Actually, anything in play. But I did swing pretty hard."
Adams' two-run home run couldn't have come at a better time for the Lancers who will now move on to play the winner of Tuesday afternoon's Pleasant Grove vs. American Fork game. The Lancers and Warriors were tied 1-1 at the end of seven innings Monday afternoon at Barnes Park in Kaysville. McKenna Morgan started on second for the Lancers, who were visiting team, as per the international tie-break rule. She advanced to third on a bunt by Oakley Squires, but an error allowed her to score on the play.
Adams, the lead-off batter for Layton, came to the plate with Squires on second base. She said the pitch she hit over the fence was right down the middle.
"I think it really relaxed our team," she said. "They knew we had more than a one-run lead. Pitching-wise, it gives you room to work with batters."
And that's exactly what Adams did in Weber's final at bat. The Warriors also started with a runner on second, who advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then Adams walked the next batter. Still, she and her defense remained calm. The second batter got out on an infield fly and then Adams struck out the next hitter for the second out. When the base runner tried to steal, Layton's defense got her in a rundown and eventually got the final out.
"We knew it was going to be a dog fight," said Layton coach Kelby Miller. "Carly Raitt pitched the first four innings for us, and she did a great job. We've got to go the long road, so we have to have some help. I'm just happy we were able to swing it today."
Adams said having Raitt, a junior, throw the first four innings was helpful because it gave her some rest and kept Weber's batters off balance just enough.
"Carly pitched really well today," said Adams, who has been nursing a sore finger for two weeks. "We were actually lucky to get to play today. Now we just have one game Tuesday."
Reilee O'Brien threw a nice game for the Warriors, who were sent to the one-loss bracket after a 1-0 loss to Northridge. Weber pulled off the tournament's biggest upset in the first round beating Bingham, which was ranked second in 5A at the time. The game was played Monday due to a conflict with Weber High's graduation Tuesday afternoon. The game was originally scheduled to be at Davis High, but after a parent reported the field had been aeriated, coaches agreed to nearby Barnes Park. Layton coaches and players don't know a lot about Plesant Grove or American Fork.
"At this point in the tournament everyone you play is tough," Miller said.
And with a young team, he's hoping those who've never been in this position before will acquire a taste for tournament play.
"We're really enjoying this," he said.Adds Adams, "Anytime you're playing in state it's satisfying. It's a lot of fun."