Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 30, 2023
Buffaloes softball: 5A playoffs in review

Tooele softball beats Olympus Titans to advance in 5A tourney

After a weather delay postponed the game into Wednesday morning, Tooele defeated the Olympus Titans 1-0 to advance in the 5A State Softball Championships.

The first few frames of the game wound up being a pitching duel between Buffaloes pitcher Aubrie Hansen and Titans pitcher Charlie Turner, as both threw 16 strikeouts combined over four innings.

Tooele opened the scoring at the bottom of the fourth, when a double by Hunter Culley put her in scoring position, followed by a sacrifice fly by Sadie Baker to send Culley home and give the Buffaloes a 1-0 lead.

This score stood through the bottom of the sixth, before a lightning delay put the game on hold for the rest of the evening. Then, on Wednesday morning when the game resumed, Tooele finished off the Titans and won 1-0.

Hansen — who earned the shutout — finished the game with 18 strikeouts, three more than her 15-strikeout performance on May 18.

With the win, the Buffaloes advanced to face the Spanish Fork Dons.

Game one stats:

Batting leaders:

Sadie Baker:       2 AB, 1 RBI, 0 runs

Emily Sheppard: 4 AB, 1 hit, 0 runs

Hunter Culley:    3 AB, 1 hit, 0 runs

Three others tied with 1 hit apiece

Pitching:

Aubrie Hansen: 7 IP, 18 strikeouts, 0 ERA

Game two: Tooele softball moves on under bracket after loss to Spanish Fork

Right after the conclusion of their game against Olympus, Tooele found itself squaring off against the no.1-ranked Spanish Fork Dons.

Spanish Fork put together a quick four runs at the bottom of the first inning, compared to Tooele’s single run, and took an early 4-1 lead. The Buffaloes lone score of the inning came off a ground out, when Kimball stole home base before the frame ended.

The top of the second marked what would become a five-inning scoring drought for Tooele, with the Dons extending their lead to 5-1 at the bottom of the second. Later, at the top of the seventh the Buffaloes scored on a Shields single that scored Dakota Gallaher and cut Spanish Fork’s lead to three runs.

Unfortunately for Tooele, the single run was all they could put together and the Dons held on to win the game 5-2. 

Coach Spendlove said the lightning delay from the game against the Titans impacted the team, mentally.

“We were prepared to play Spanish Fork on Tuesday (after the win over Olympus), and when that didn’t happen I think it threw us a little bit,” she said.

Nevertheless, Spendlove was proud of her team’s performance.

“I thought we played way tougher than anyone thought we would, especially considering we were down a couple starters,” she said.

The starters Spendlove was referring to were two of the Buffaloes’ four senior players who chose to head back to Tooele High School to attend the graduation ceremony, which took place at the same time as the playoff games.

“I totally supported them, 1,000%, but it sort of put us at a small disadvantage,” Spendlove said.

In recognition of the other two seniors who played, a mini-ceremony was held during the game — with the players dressed in their caps and gowns they had brought along with them.

Kelsey Shields, one of the two seniors who opted to play in the game, said the choice was “extremely hard” especially considering her academic successes over the years. In addition to earning a 4.0 GPA, Shields was also receiving an honors diploma and was a Sterling Scholar finalist.

“I have been working super hard in high school to achieve so much,” Shields said. “However, I have also played with lots of these girls since I was six, and this would be my last chance to play with them.”

Shields also wanted to face off against Spanish Fork and get a chance to get a hit against their starting pitcher.

“We faced them the last three years and I haven’t been able to hit off her,” she said. “This year I got a hit to the right side of the field — and even batted a runner in!”

Fitch, the other senior who played in the game, echoed Shields’ remarks and felt she owed it to the team to see the playoffs through.

“It’s something I have been looking forward to since I was little and a big part of senior year,” she said. “(However) I knew I had a commitment to, not only my teammates, but to my coach and the game of softball in general — I wanted to play in a Tooele uniform for as long as I possibly could.”

With the loss to the Lakers, the Buffaloes were sent to the under bracket, where they would meet the Bonneville Lakers.

Game two stats:

Batting leaders:

Kelsey Shields: 3 AB, 1 hit, 1 RBI

Rose Kimball:   2 AB, 0 hits, 1 run

Ayden Fitch:     3AB, 1 hit, 0 runs

Pitching: 

Aubrie Hansen: 6 IP, 11 strikeouts, 2 ERA

Buffaloes fall 2-8 to Bonneville, eliminated from 5A softball tourney

In their elimination game against the Bonneville Lakers, the Tooele Buffaloes softball team was eliminated from the 5A State Softball Championships on Wednesday afternoon.

In what was technically their third game of the day, the Buffaloes were unable to make a comeback after falling behind 2-0 early on.

After the Lakers scored the opening two runs at the top of the first, the Buffaloes were held to two hits over the next two frames and allowed two more Lakers runs to fall behind 4-0 after two-and-a-half innings.

Then, at the bottom of the third, Tooele got on the scoresheet when a triple by Ayden Fitch drove in two runs to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of Bonneville. This margin stood for a majority of the remainder of the game, until the final inning.

Despite a productive bottom of the fourth, during which the Buffaloes had two runners on base off two-straight singles, putting them in scoring position. Bonneville stopped Tooele in its tracks after a double play and a groundout ended the inning.

The team didn’t fare much better in the fifth and sixth innings, as the Buffaloes were held scoreless. Although Tooele managed to load the bases at the bottom of the fifth, Bonneville shut them down and left all three runners stranded heading into the top of the sixth.

Following another scoreless inning, the Lakers pulled away at the top of the seventh when their fifth batter in the lineup hit a grand slam to pad their lead at 8-2. Tooele was unable to score at the bottom of the inning and Bonneville won the game, advancing them to the next round and eliminating the Buffaloes from the tournament.

Tooele pitchers Allie Anderson and Aubrie Hansen combined for five strikeouts and eight hits, with Hansen throwing four of the strikeouts. Shields led the Buffaloes in hits, going two-for-three in her three at-bats, while Fitch led the team in scoring with two RBIs on one hit. 

With the playoffs drawing to an end, Tooele finished the season with an overall 16-11 record and a 9-3 record in their region. 

Game three stats:

Batting: 

Ayden Fitch:      4 AB, 1 hit, 2 RBI

Olivia Pater:      2 AB, 1 hit, 1 run

Kelsey Shields: 3 AB, 2 hits, 0 runs

Five others tied with 1 hit apiece

Pitching:

Allie Anderson:  4 IP, 1 strikeout, 4 ERA

Aubrie Hansen: 3 IP, 4 strikeouts, 4ERA

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