SPANISH FORK — Both Tooele and defending state champion Bear River separated themselves from the rest of the competition in a big way during Thursday's rainy conditions in the 4A state tournament. Both teams ended their games early, with the Buffaloes taking a 10-0 win over Cedar in just six innings and the Bears handing Snow Canyon an 11-1 loss after just five innings played.
Leading 4-0 after three innings, Katelyn Hogan broke things open in the fifth with a grand slam home run, which doubled the lead in an instant while putting the Redmen squarely behind the eight ball.
"It felt awesome, and when I got up there to the box I just wanted to hit something. It was time," Hogan said. "I'd been in a bit of a slump, so that just felt really good."
The third inning also saw Tooele put up three runs, with RBI doubles slapped through by Amber Lujan and Kennedie Anderson leading up to a 2-run RBI single off the bat of Paige Rydalch.
"We came out swinging and it was fun to see," said Tooele coach Marissa Lowry. "We set the tone early and put together a really solid game."
Leading things from the pitching circle was Attlyn Johnston, who pitched a complete game to save her arm, along with those of her teammates, for the final round of the no-loss bracket on Friday.
"We haven't been in this position for a while, so it feels great to be here," Lowry said. "We had a real good effort from everyone today and we'll definitely need it taking on a great team like Bear River — a team that has a lot of great tradition."Comment on this story
As for Bear River, its game was relatively close until a 3-run home run sent over the fence by Oaklee Trapp gave the defending champions a 7-1 lead after four innings. A lightning delay of just less than an hour ensued after the fourth inning, with the Bears able to end things early by capitalizing on a bevy of fielding errors by the Warriors to take an 11-1 win after just five innings.
In other action, it was Ridgeline staving off elimination with an 11-1 win over Logan to advance in the one-loss bracket while Spanish Fork did the same, taking a tight 6-4 win over Mountain Crest.
Play continues Friday at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex and concludes on Saturday.