I honestly think we could be state contenders. I really have a great feeling about this team, but we've had some adversity. We also need to find some confidence. —Murray coach Lisa Parker

MURRAY — Murray marked down a win in its Region 7 opener after surviving a defensive battle in a 5-2 win over Herriman on Thursday.

Murray jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first two innings, with Kenzie Gray, Sami Scheidell, and Krysta Woolley recording RBIs for the Spartans. However, Heriman's defense stepped up from that point and put the brakes on the Murray offense.

Herriman put itself in good position for a comeback after some smart base running, which resulted in a run in the top of the fifth inning to make it 4-2. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, Murray slammed the door shut in the next inning as pinch hitter Charlie Bitsue hit a powerful, two-out RBI single. The Spartans rode the momentum into the top of the seventh, where they sat down the Herriman batters in 1-2-3 order.

Murray was led in the victory by senior pitcher Elise Johnson, who pitched a solid game and went 3-for-3 at the plate.

Despite the win, Murray coach Lisa Parker is not satisfied with where her team is at this point. "Today was not an indicator of our ability," she said.

Murray is last year's 5A state runner up and Parker believes her team has the ability to get back to that level, despite losing seven seniors.

"I honestly think we could be state contenders," said Parker. "I really have a great feeling about this team, but we've had some adversity. We also need to find some confidence."

Parker was pleased to see several of her players step up, including Krista Willy and Courtney Beavers, who both had strong games defensively. Gray is another senior who is starting to take on a leadership role. She was 2-for-3 at the plate.

Herriman is a team that is rapidly improving and is making strides towards a bid in the state tournament.

"We've improved a lot," said second baseman Mindy Painter. "We were definitely a lot better defensively today, and our hitting will come with time."

Painter made several excellent defensive plays on the day, including a tag on an attempted steal of second base. She also snagged a hard hit line drive that was sure to go for extra bases if she hadn't gotten her glove on it.

email: smundee@desnews.com