This past week, I’ve been watching her excel, and I had to give her a chance. —Grantsville head coach Heidi Taylor, on August Cowan

SPANISH FORK — As Grantsville head coach Heidi Taylor watched August Cowan in practice last week, she knew the freshman deserved a shot at pitching in the 3A semifinal game.

That decision got a bit more difficult after the Cowboys earned a 5-0 win over Manti earlier Friday behind the impressive pitching performance of Bailey Frischnecht. Also a freshman, Frischnecht struck out 16 batters and allowed just two hits in the victory.

Taylor, however, decided to reward Cowan for her hard work and improved play, and it paid off when the top-ranked Cowboys defeated Union 11-1 for a shot at defending last year’s 3A title.

“(August) was awesome,” said Taylor as the team celebrated in the outfield. “She’s been doing so good in practice that we couldn’t not give her this opportunity.”

Cowan didn’t just lead the team’s defense with six strikes and surrendering just three hits, she also led them at bat with two doubles.

“This past week, I’ve been watching her excel, and I had to give her a chance,” Taylor said. “She was awesome at the plate too.”

Maddison Peterson started the game with a double, but her teammates couldn’t bring her home. The Cowboys first run came when Laura Sandberg capitalized on a walk and scored on Cowan’s double.

Neither team scored in the third inning, but Grantsville had an eight-run fourth inning. The Cowboys offense started with a double from Addison Smith, and it included Cowan’s second double and five singles.

The only home run came from Madison Hadlock, who hit a solo shot in the fourth inning for the Cougars’ only run of the game.

Taylor said the weather, which meant a delayed start of more than two hours, as well as a couple of extra-inning games, made for a strange day.

“We’re waiting and waiting and waiting, but then everyone is waiting and waiting and waiting,” she said with a shrug. “Even playing field.”

Her team managed the stops, starts and delays with dance parties.

“They’ve felt pressure the whole time,” Taylor said. “You won it last year so everybody wants to beat you. They’ve felt pressure, but they’ve just played their fun, crazy, dancing game. They’re just fun.”