What looked on paper to be a close battle between two of Class 4A’s top softball teams turned into a one-sided blowout on Saturday at the Deseret Peak Complex.
A combination of dominant pitching and punishing power hitting led Tooele to an 8-0 victory over Uintah, as Buffaloes sophomore Attlyn Johnston threw a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts and THS pounded out five extra-base hits.
“It was a game that we needed,” Tooele coach Marissa Lowry said. “We need to play against good teams and to execute our plan.”
Tooele (12-1, 4-0 Region 11) seized control of the game in the first inning and never gave the visiting Utes (10-3) a chance to respond. After Uintah stranded a runner on third base in the top of the frame, it took all of five pitches for the Buffaloes to get on the board as Bryerly Avina clobbered a one-out solo home run to left-center field. The ball sailed over the temporary outfield fence with ease, and one-hopped the chain-link fence beyond that.
Three batters later, it was Kennedie Anderson’s turn as she drove a two-run home run that crept over the fence in left for a 3-0 lead. The home run was only part of a stellar day for Anderson, who added a diving catch against the fence in foul territory in the fourth inning and another impressive snag in right field in the fifth to help preserve Johnston’s no-hitter.
“(Anderson) had a really good game,” Lowry said. “She’s really turning into a good ballplayer out there for us, and I’m just proud of her and her patience at the plate.”
Johnston hit Madie Luck with a pitch to lead off the second inning and Kassidy Callahan and Baylee Smuin reached base on errors for the Utes, but those were the only blemishes on her stat line. She had five consecutive strikeouts in the second and third innings, and struck out six of the final eight batters she faced in the game.
While Johnston was dominating in the circle, the Buffs were waiting for their opportunity to expand their lead. They took advantage of it after Hope Weight doubled and Natalee Bevan singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. Weight scored on Olivia Filion’s groundout, and Madi Baker hit an RBI single to center to drive in Bevan. Avina then hit a double to left to allow Baker to score the Buffs’ fifth run of the afternoon.
“Bryerly has been working so hard in the box,” Lowry said. “Her results are starting to show, which is fun to see as a coach.”
Tooele put the exclamation point on things in the bottom of the sixth. Avina drew a leadoff walk and scored on Amber Lujan’s double to left-center, with Lujan later scoring on Anderson’s groundout. Avina, Anderson and Weight each finished 2-for-3 at the plate, while Lujan was 3-for-4.
Luck was credited with the loss in the circle for Uintah, allowing six runs on nine hits with two walks and a strikeout in 4 1/3 innings. Kennedy Callahan allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Tooele was scheduled to face Park City in a Region 11 road game Tuesday afternoon as part of a busy week full of road games. The Buffs are scheduled to play at Spanish Fork on Wednesday, at Bonneville on Thursday and at Stansbury on Friday.