Tooele and Alta girls’ softball both struggled to score Monday afternoon, but it was Alyssa Arslanian who delivered the heroics when the Lady Buffs needed them.
In the bottom of the eighth inning with sophomore Izzy Nicholas standing on third base, Arslanian stepped up to the plate. She knocked a pitch into right field for a base hit to score Nicholas and give the Lady Buffs a 1-0 victory.
THS coach Melanie Nelson said it’s great to win games when you don’t necessarily play at a high level.
“It’s always good to have an off day, not be on top of your game, and still get the win,” she said.
Nelson added that hitting is still a struggle for the players, but she’s happy they came through for the win.
“The majority of us are freshmen and sophomores out there and not quite grasping the concept of getting in the (batting) cage every single day,” Nelson said. “Practice is not enough.”
She said that’s the reason why Stansbury was so good last year: the hitters spent so much time in the batting cage, and she said that’s what it takes to be great.
Even without the bats coming to life on a chilly and windy Monday, the Lady Buffs still had the arm of Lauren Frailey to take care of business. Frailey struck out nine batters, including one in the extra inning.
“She’s moving the ball so well,” Nelson said of Frailey. “It’s good to see her healthy.”
Frailey missed a big chunk of the 2013 season due to injury, but the senior took care of the Alta batting lineup. And part of that was thanks to Tooele’s defense.
In the top of the sixth inning, Alta had runners on second and third base with one out. Frailey delivered the pitch and it was hit right back at her. Frailey scooped it up and looked over to hold the runner at third. She fired over to first for the force out, and then the runner on third took off toward home.
Alysia Roybal spotted the runner heading home to try and break the scoreless tie, and she fired the ball back in to catcher Whitnie Touhuni just as the runner began her slide into home plate. Touhuni applied the tag, and the Lady Buffs prevented Alta from breaking the tie.
The winning run in the eighth inning was set up when Nicholas was placed at second base. When games reach extra innings, each team starts the inning with a runner on second base in their at-bats. After going 0-for-3 to start the game, sophomore Trystin Crofts stepped in and put down a sacrifice bunt to move Nicholas over to third. That’s when Arslanian drove her in for the winning run.
Tooele plays another game Tuesday at Hunter before hitting the road to St. George for five games this weekend.
The Tooele softball team also has activities taking place off the field. Currently, the softball team has teamed up with the Grantsville High School softball team for a food drive to help the Tooele County Food Bank.
From now until Friday, March 21, there will be boxes placed at both THS and GHS where food items can be donated. At the end of next week, both the THS and GHS softball teams will take those food items to the Tooele County Food Bank.
Nelson said it’s fun for the athletes to team up with their friends at another school and work together for a good cause.
“All the girls know each other, and they all play accelerated ball together in the county, so I thought why not ask the other schools and try to make it as big as possible?” Nelson said.
The THS and GHS softball teams will take those donations to the Tooele County Food Bank on March 22.