See it, feel it, and believe it. You can’t ever look past Bingham. They always have some magic. —Herriman head coach Heidi McKissick
TAYLORSVILLE — Herriman junior Shalee Jensen took Bingham’s strategy personally.
When the Miners chose to intentionally walk Libby Parkinson at the top of the fifth inning, Jensen followed Parkinson in the batting order and couldn’t help but feel like the decision was a snub and a challenge.
“It makes me feel like I need to show them up, and show them I’m just as good as the girl in front of me,” the centerfielder said, doing just that as she smashed a two-run home run that started a rally that led to a pitching change in Herriman’s 8-2 victory over Bingham in the 6A softball semifinals. “My coaches always tell me that they put me in the fourth spot to do my job like they know I could. As soon as I had two strikes on me, I knew I had to do something, and all I could do was lace it up and hit the ball as hard as I could.” The home run may have surprised the Miners, but it didn’t surprise her coaches or teammates.
“That’s what our plan is,” said Herriman head coach Heidi McKissick. “(Opponents have been walking April (Visser) and Libby, and I said, ‘We’re putting you at four for some reason. We need you.’ I had total faith in that kid.”
Jensen doesn’t have the batting average or on-base percentage that her teammates have because she started the season injured. But her teammates know she’ll deliver when it matters because of how she practices every day.
“Shalee laces the ball,” Parkinson said of the home run. “I don’t know what it is. She came up clutch, but she always does. ...She’s a great athlete, and she works hard. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t let failure get her down. She just gets mad, she gets pumped and she lets it fuel her fire.” Jensen said she was nervous as the game started, but after shortstop April Visser scored a run in the first inning, after reaching first on an error, she felt more confident.
“It was like, at least we have one run, so now let’s go out and hold them in the field,” Jensen said. “(Visser) is an amazing player.”
The Miners battled back several times but just couldn’t seem to get runs across the plate. Bingham earned eight hits and had two errors, while Herriman managed nine hits and also had two errors.
“See it, feel it, and believe it,” McKissick said as her team celebrated the win that will allow them to play for the 6A title. “You can’t ever look past Bingham. They always have some magic.”
Visser smacked a solo home run in the fifth inning, as well as turning a double play on defense that stalled a Miner rally in the fifth inning.
“Personally, I’ve always done great in those situations, having that pressure,” Visser said. “I feel like people on the team really look up to me on and off the field, so if I think we can do it, it kind of gives them a little bit of hope.” She also hopes her teammates take the same kind of ownership of each play.
“I feel like everyone should feel like they have to (deliver a big play),” she said. “Everyone should be out there and wanting to do their job the best way they can.” The Mustangs will play the winner of the Syracuse-Bingham game Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Valley Complex.