TAYLORSVILLE The Tooele Buffaloes rampaged through the first inning to grab a big lead and all of the momentum, leaving Murray scrambling for answers and stuck in the one-loss game against Bountiful today.
By the end of the dominating performance the Buffaloes found themselves with the 7-0 victory and a great shot a grabbing the trophy in their first season in the 4A ranks.
Both teams are defending state champions as the Buffaloes are reigning in 3A and have won four of the last five titles. The Spartans are the reigning 4A champs and are winners of two of the last three trophies in their ranks.
Both teams have been dominating their individual classifications, and the clash today was expected to have fireworks. What few people expected was that the fireworks would be all one-sided.
A trio of Murray errors in the first inning, along with three singles set the Buffaloes with a 4-0 lead, and they didn't give the Spartans anything to work with after that, riding pitcher Lauren Folta's arm and some solid defense.
Matti Snow led things off for the Buffaloes with a base on balls, followed quickly by Folta, who picked up the single. After the Spartans recorded one out, the errors started coming. Two more singles by Marissa Mendenhall and Aly Jensen aided the three errors in putting the four runs on the board.
"It's always good to jump on them early and get the big lead," said Tooele coach Barry Pitt.
Capitalizing on the five total Spartan errors gave Folta an additional jolt of confidence, and she tossed a three-hitter against one of the toughest hitting teams in the state.
"That's what's been hurting us lately is people capitalizing on ours, and we went out there to try to make them hurt on theirs," Pitt added.
Murray did get a pair on base in the top of the fifth when the Buffaloes made their own pair of errors in the game, but the Spartans stranded runners at second and third.
Just after that Spartan letdown, they again committed an error and allowed three singles to Kelsey Mendenhall, Marissa Mendenhall and Whitnie Griffith to put two more runs on the board. Three great defensive plays in the sixth sent them rolling into their own half of the inning ready to put another run on the board as Folta and Griffith once again smacked singles, and the Spartans committed their final error.
A couple of fielder's choice plays and a nice catch by Jordan McMain finished off the contest.
"It's good to be in this position so that we don't have to worry about tired arms," said Pitt, who was happy with his entire team's effort as they all played an intense and focused game.Tooele will play the winner of the Murray-Bountiful game in the championship game today at noon barring weather delays.
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