TAYLORSVILLE With her team advancing to the semifinals of the 5A state softball championship for the first time, Riverton head coach Emily Cederholm is leaving nothing to chance.
So when someone suggests the squad will continue winning, she spits on the ground and wipes her left foot across it. That was just a few minutes after telling her team that it didn't matter if they wore the same uniforms they had on when they upset Spanish Fork last week.
Despite being in unfamiliar territory, third-ranked Riverton is playing with the confidence and poise of a veteran playoff team.
"This feels awesome," said Cederholm after Riverton earned a decisive 6-2 win over second-ranked Fremont Tuesday night at the Valley Softball Complex. "We've already gone further than we ever have ... It's huge, but it's not good enough for us."
Riverton had to shake off a good start by the Fremont Silver Wolves.
Shantel Skeen hit the first of her three singles to get on base and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. MeChel Hunt then got on base with a walk, and both players scored on a single from Kami Johnson.
Riverton's defense and junior pitcher Sammie Powell held Fremont scoreless the rest of the game.
"I was a little nervous at first when they got those two runs, and I wondered how we were going to respond," said Cederholm. Shaking off mistakes has been "one thing we've struggled with all year ... They did a great job of supporting each other and playing selfless softball."
From the bench to the starters, anyone in Riverton purple and black tried to lend a hand of support. The result was that when someone made an error, it never really cost the team much.
"We've done some things to help them care more about their teammates than themselves," said Cederholm. "This is a team sport for a reason."
Riverton's offense got off to a great start when junior right fielder Sandi Bowles hit a double. Then sophomore centerfielder Trina Gomez hit a double and scored Bowles. Junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina then hit a double and scored Gomez and then the fourth batter Simbree Minniear was walked. Fremont changed pitchers and got out of the inning with a 2-4 deficit.
"They were just trading places, and I'll take that all day," said Cederholm.
Sammie Powell said no matter what happened on the field behind her, regardless of what the count was or whether the wind was blowing so hard the field looked like a dust bowl, she knew she'd be OK.
"I don't really think about walks or anything," Powell said. "I think my team has my back. It could have been tied and I wouldn't have been worried."The win allows Riverton to advance to the semifinals where they will face top-ranked Taylorsville.
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