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Hugh Carey, Deseret News
Bingham's catcher Mattison Voorhees attempts to catch the ball as Herriman's Katie Eastman slides into home plate during the softball game at Bingham High School Thursday, May 15, 2014, in South Jordan.
It was just two great teams competing all out. There were a lot of composure moments for both teams, and I was impressed with what they were able to do and really impressed with our girls. —Bingham softball head coach Mikki Jackson

SOUTH JORDAN — Bingham softball head coach Mikki Jackson wasn’t worried about her team’s record throughout the regular season. Rather, Jackson was more concerned with her team’s ability to learn from and eliminate its shortcomings.

“I think when you take some beatings for things you aren’t accomplishing, you have to learn from them. That’s what we said at the beginning of the year; wins and losses aren’t as important as the experiences we are gaining,” Jackson said of her squad’s early season struggles. “And when we lost a couple of things because of composure or a lack of confidence, we had to come to practice and turn that into confidence. So having had those experiences, it really taught us what we needed to get ahold of, and then we went out to go grab ahold of it.”

Indeed, top-seeded Bingham (22-6, 9-1) corrected its mistakes and went out Thursday afternoon and edged No. 3-seeded Herriman (20-6, 10-2) 5-4 to punch its ticket to the 5A semifinals, where it will take on either Lehi or Taylorsville Tuesday night.

“It was just two great teams competing all out,” Jackson said of the narrow win. “There were a lot of composure moments for both teams, and I was impressed with what they were able to do and really impressed with our girls.”

Herriman was able to get things rolling in the top of the third when Elaine Asaasa and Ashlyn Visser each singled and Hayley Childs brought home Asaasa to give the Mustangs the early edge.

Bingham quickly responded, however, as it plated three runs in the home half of the third to open up a two-run lead.

Freshman Taylor Jerant and senior Taylor Clemens drove in a combined three runs off two base knocks to take the 3-1 lead.

Clemens was a terrific leader on both sides of the ball as she tallied two RBIs and pitched the complete-game victory on the mound to power the Miners. Clemens worked herself out of several one-out, bases-loaded jams while also fanning six Herriman batters in her full seven innings of work.

“I think as a leader, certainly that composure helps to settle the other kids, too,” Jackson said of her senior leader. “And knowing that she (Clemens) is going to turn in every ounce of effort and put it where it needs to be and we just need to take the grounder or pop-up she gives us, gives us a little bit of depth to our defense. I think it is a great leader situation for us.”

Bingham kept things going in the fourth as Lexi English led off with her second single of the day, setting up Mattison Voorhees’ two-run blast over the left-field fence to put the home team up, 5-2.

“She’s (English) just coming back off an injury,” Jackson said of her junior second baseman. “That was an extremely gutsy performance. This was her first game back so we needed that stick, and she gave it to us and was a spark plug for our offense today.”

Despite giving up a two-run homer to Herriman’s Childs, Clemens and the Miners were able to hold off the Mustangs to pick up the nail-biting 5-4 victory.

“I think that the composure is the big thing,” Jackson said of her team’s upcoming semifinal game. “When we stay on our game and stay composed, we have sticks, we have speed and we have defense. We really have everything as long as we come with the confidence to play at our peak.”

Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sports writer and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724

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