I knew I could do it, but when it went over the fence I thought I was dreaming. —Jocelyn Kaufman, Stansbury softball
ST. GEORGE — Stansbury's softball team hoped to earn the school's first state championship berth in any sport when it met Region 11 rival Bear River in the 3A semifinals Friday evening.
The Stallions made history.
Jocelyn Kaufman hit a grand slam in the fifth inning, and Kimbri Herring pitched a complete game as Stansbury earned a 6-2 victory.
"My team came out very strong," said Kaufman. "We played extremely well defensively, and I give them all the credit."
After a few great defensive innings, Karlee Manzione hit an RBI single to make it 2-0 in the top of the fifth, and the Stallions were able to load the bases when Kaufman came up to the plate.
The Stansbury catcher took the ball deep to center field for her first career home run — a grand slam — to make it 6-0 Stallions.
"The three batters that were on base is why I got a grand slam," said a beaming Kaufman. "I knew I could do it, but when it went over the fence I thought I was dreaming."
Bear River was able to score in the bottom of the fifth when Brenna Hinck drove in a run off an error by the Stallions to make it 6-1. Bailee Trapp then hit a single to right end in the sixth that brought in another run to make it 6-2.
Herring had one more inning to shut the Bears down, and she did precisely that. After allowing a base hit to the first batter, she forced the second one to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. And after walking the third batter of the inning, she forced the final batter of the game to fly out to foul territory on the third-base line.
"Kimbri started the season as a third-string pitcher," said Kaufman. "We worked really hard together and got her up to the first string, and she has been awesome. As long as she is confident in herself, she is unstoppable."
Stansbury will play the winner of Bear River and Spanish Fork on Saturday, and if the Stallions can win one of two games, they would bring home the first state championship in any sport for Stansbury.
"We're just that much closer," said Kaufman. "I want to wear that ring so bad."
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School. Follow CJ on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113