LAYTON — Jackie Gold is no stranger to winning.
Heading into Layton softball’s Thursday afternoon’s game against the Pleasant Grove Vikings — a second round matchup in the 6A state tournament — the Lancers’ ace had picked up 13 wins from the circle this season alone.
That single season total made her one of the top-ten winningest pitchers in high school softball throughout the state of Utah, and top two when considering only the 6A classification.
Throw in 10 wins a year ago, and three the year before that — 26 wins in total — and it is safe to say that Gold is well accustomed to walking away the victor, particularly in games that she pitched.
It showed against the Vikings.
Led by Gold, who threw a complete game shutout, Layton defeated Pleasant Grove 2-0.
Gold allowed just two hits in the game — her 14th win this season — while striking out a pair of Vikings.
She also induced an additional nine outfield fly outs, to say nothing of the ground outs, line outs and pop-ups.
“I just give 100 percent, no matter what,” said Gold. “It was really great to get the win in our last game on our home field.”
Aiding the Lancers’ cause was a bit of unruly weather, namely a strong outfield-in gusting wind.
The combination proved nigh unbeatable for the visiting Vikings, who had utilized the long ball to great effect all year.
In fact, Pleasant Grove hit 11 home runs this season, compared to just six by Layton.
Against Gold, however, any blasts that may have had a chance to leave the yard were quickly turned into regular fly ball outs.
“It was a big help. It was,” said Gold. “(The wind) didn’t make a difference to me when I pitched, but it did make a difference to my outies (outfielders). It made it so they could go get those pop flies.”
The wind was such that neither team could do much in the way of hitting.
Layton finished with only eight hits, Pleasant Grove two.
Through the first two innings, the teams were knotted at zero, the only hint of any offense coming in the bottom of the second when Kaitlyn Roberts and Bailey Nay recorded back-to-back infield singles.
That Lancers’ threat ultimately proved punchless, as Pleasant Grove ace Brighton Fenton got out of the inning without any damage done.
That changed in the bottom of the third inning.
Starting with a walk drawn by Tylor Comeau — she stole second base soon thereafter — the Lancers found their offense, thanks to an RBI single by Brooklyn Pritchett, followed by an RBI double by Leah Knight.
The two-run edge was all Gold needed to pick up the win for Layton, though.
From the fourth inning on, Gold was dominant, and allowed just one hit — a single by Owens.
Outside of that successful at-bat, the Vikings flew out, lined out, or grounded out in 11 of their 13 plate appearances to end the game, with a strikeout and walk the other two results.Comment on this story
“My defense always has my back,” said Gold. “Always. They are the best.”
The victory proved a confidence boost for the Lancers, in their quest for the first state championship in program history.
“This was a big help,” said Gold. “This helped us see that we could do this, we can do this.”
Layton will play Copper Hills in the quarterfinals of the state tournament, on Tuesday, May 21, at 3:30 p.m.
The Grizzlies defeated the Westlake Thunder 7-1 to set up the matchup with the Lancers at the Valley Softball Complex.