We feed off each other, the intensity, the excitement and just having fun playing the game of softball. —West head coach Keith Lopati
SALT LAKE CITY — In a high-octane offensive shootout at West High School on Wednesday afternoon, the West High Panthers defeated the Riverton Silver Wolves 15-12.
“We got one. Our offense pulled through. We needed to make more plays defensively, but overall, I was happy with our performance,” West head coach Keith Lopati said.
West scored in every inning except the third, putting up 2, 5, 3, 3 and 2 runs in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
“I’d like to think so, I’d like to think so,” Lopati said when asked if his team had a high-powered offense. “Again, it all depends on how our approach is at the plate and where our girls are mentally, but for the most part, I like to think so.”
Daisy Taloa led the offensive explosion for the Panthers, launching two home runs and adding a walk.
“She’s one of our young'ins, our young girls, and that’s how we expect her to play. Trying to get her mentally in the right frame of mind to do that, it speaks volumes to the hard work that she’s put in,” Lopati said.
After Riverton opened the scoring with a run on an error and a two-run homer by Katelyn Whiting in the first inning, West responded with a two-run bottom of the first, then scored five runs in the bottom of the second to take a 7-3 lead. Kensey Lopati opened the scoring frenzy with an RBI double, then a bases-loaded walk brought her home. A double by Kalena Shepherd scored two and an RBI single by Kamora Masina brought home another run.
“That’s how we are. We feed off each other, the intensity, the excitement and just having fun playing the game of softball,” Lopati said.
Riverton, down by seven entering the fifth inning, had a tremendous two-out rally in the fifth to tie up the game. A Candace Park single scored one, a double by Kaylee Christiansen brought home two more and then a single by Kaycee Wartman brought home Christiansen. With two Silverwolves on base, pitcher Eryn Williams rocketed a three-run homer to tie the game at 10.
The Panthers would come back in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back jacks to left field, the first a two-run shot by Keisha White and the second by Taloa, her second home run of the game.
“It was big, it was big. If you look at our lineup, that could happen anywhere from one to nine, and that’s what teams are going to have to be able to do, is shut it down, inning after inning after inning,” Lopati said. “The ability for us to come back is there, and it’s real and I’m proud of them and happy for what we have.”
With the win, the defending 5A state champion Panthers improve to 9-5 on the season. West played an out-of-state schedule to start the year, and have now won the three games that they have played in the state of Utah. Riverton drops to 8-4 on the season.