HERRIMAN — Not much went Herriman’s way during Thursday’s game against fellow Region 4 unbeaten Riverton.
The fact it still battled through its own defensive deficiencies and inconsistency at the plate for a 4-2 victory is further proof that Herriman is one of the teams to beat in 5A this season.
“This wasn’t our best game, definitely not, I think we played a little stressed, a little timid,” said Herriman coach Heidi McKissick. “This has probably been our closest game, and to come on top was just great.”
The Mustangs committed four errors in the first six innings, forcing pitcher Bryce Taylor to repeatedly pitch out of jams. Despite Riverton putting a runner on base every inning, Taylor avoided walking any batters to keep Herriman within striking distance.
“That’s what Bryce does. She’s more of a junk-ball pitcher. She keeps you off balance and keeps you guessing what’s coming next,” said McKissick, whose team improved to 5-0 in region play.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the heart of Herriman’s lineup finally started to get productive at-bats against Riverton’s Jordan Lockhart.
Dayna Hokanson got things started with a lead-off walk, which was followed by Taylor’s bloop single over the pitcher's head.
That set the stage for catcher Ashlyn Visser, who singled in Herriman’s only other run in the fourth. After the two base runners in front of her advanced on a passed ball, Visser single to right field to drive in both runners for the 3-2 lead.
“I was just relaxed in the box and I knew what I had to do. I did a place hit. They were cheating on me and I just went the opposite way,” said Visser, who finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
Two batters later Herriman stretched the lead to 4-2 on an RBI single by Mikaela Thomson.
In the top of the seventh, Taylor found herself in another jam after Hailey Jo Hansen led off with a double, but she retired the next three batters to improve to 8-1 this season.
Riverton opened the scoring in the second inning, and really missed out on a chance to blow the game open. With one out, Lockhart, Kelsey Nokes and Kaitlyn Adler all singled consecutively, the last resulting in a throwing error at first based which allowed Lockhart to score.
Adler tried advancing to second on the throwing error, but was quickly thrown out before Nokes was also immediately thrown out trying to race home for the inning-ending double play.
“We made errors as a team, but we did turn some of them around,” said Visser.
Nokes singled in a run in the fourth to give Riverton the 2-0 lead, but a pick off and then a bunt attempt that hit the batter out of the box helped thwart another potential big inning for the ‘Wolves.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.