Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Murray's Monica Moffitt, center, celebrates her home run against Springville in the the 4A state softball playoffs at the Valley Softball Complex.

TAYLORSVILLE — The Spartans started quick and never let up as they took on the Red Devils in one of the most anticipated matches of the 4A state tournament. The two teams met in the finals last year with Murray taking home the championship.

Springville was hoping to turn things around in the third round of the winners' bracket this year, but once again the Spartans seemed to have the Devils' number, taking the game 9-3.

It all started early as Monica Moffit knocked one over the center field fence in the top of the first with a pair of outs, putting the Spartans ahead 1-0 and giving them a bit of momentum when facing the top of Springville's tough lineup. But after a pair of long balls hit clean over the fence earlier in the tournament were called triples and outs because runners were touched prior to the runner touching home plate, Murray coach Lisa Parker stressed the importance of standing back to her team.

"I've already talked to them about that," Parker said before the game, and she was happy her players listened closely, standing back while Moffitt clearly touched home, scoring the first run.

"It was nice for Monica to hit that home run for us to start the game and give us a lead right at the start," she added, noting that her team gained a lot of confidence from the effort.

The Spartans attached two runs to their effort in the top of the second with two singles by Jackie Cooley and Mallory Hyland, aided by a Springville error.

Cooley not only pitched a great effort, but she also added a 3-for-4 game at the plate for her team. Hyland finished 4-for-4 with four singles.

"Jackie did a great job hitting and pitching, and Mallory was fabulous at bat and made some great catches in the field," said Parker, who also noted that it is a huge advantage to remain in the winners' bracket during the tournament.

The Murray batters accomplished something during the game that not many people have been able to do to Springville pitcher Sarah Clark this year, they recorded 12 hits on the ace.

Each team committed four errors as the wind had some effect on the defense, but the Red Devils were only able to put together six runs in the game against Cooley.

Clark did add two singles to her pitching effort, and Brittany McCray added a pair of her own, but nobody else could really get the bat moving.

Moffit added a single to her home run, Lyndi Miller also put together two a pair of hits in the contest.

Murray will go on to play Tooele today at 7:15 p.m., while Springville has to drop into the one-loss bracket and will face Dixie at 5 p.m. for the right to play again.

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