Thursday’s Region 10 softball game between county rivals Tooele and Stansbury will go down in the record books as a 10-0 win for THS, but in reality, the contest at Stansbury High School was much closer than that.
Before the top of the seventh inning, the Buffaloes (4-2, 1-0 Region 10) led by just four runs, with the Stallions (5-3-1, 2-1) having just left the bases loaded in the previous half-inning. In fact, Tooele had managed just two baserunners over its past three innings, allowing Stansbury to stay within striking distance.
However, it was Tooele that finally took firm control of the game, sending a dozen batters to the plate as part of a six-run outburst in the top of the seventh. Emma Higley led off the inning with a single up the middle, and Madi Baker added another base hit on the very next pitch from Stallions starter Tiara Jones.
Two pitches later, Paige Rydalch’s line drive ricocheted off Stansbury shortstop Payten Staley’s glove, loading the bases. Emily Sheppard, running for Higley, came home on a single by Kate Hogan, and Kennedie Anderson ripped a bases-clearing double to the warning track in left-center field to extend Tooele’s lead to 8-0.
Madi Hicks moved from second base to the pitcher’s circle in relief of Jones and allowed singles to Attlyn Johnston, Aiden Finch and Allie Anderson as the Buffs tacked on two more runs. However, Hicks settled down and struck out Lizbeth Garcia, got Higley to ground into a fielder’s choice and retired Rydalch on a comebacker to end the inning.
Stansbury had a chance to cut into Tooele’s lead one inning earlier with a two-out rally that began with a single to shallow right by Staley. Jones reached on an error by the Buffs, and McKinzy Lawson was hit by a pitch to load the bases for freshman Madison Stephensen. On a 1-0 pitch, Stephensen hit the ball to center field, but Garcia made the catch for the third out to end the Stallions’ threat.
Stansbury also had two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh after a single by Kaycee Thornock and a two-out double by Hicks, but Johnston got Maame Johnson to strike out for the game’s final out. Johnston, Tooele’s Dixie State-bound ace pitcher, struck out 13 batters and walked just one in a complete-game four-hitter.
The Buffs led 1-0 after one inning. Baker led off the game with a single to shallow left, and stole second base before advancing to third on a groundout by Rydalch. Hogan drove Baker in with another groundout.
Tooele added to its lead in the third inning, with Higley leading off with a single and Sheppard scoring on another base hit by Baker. Baker scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Hogan, and Anderson drove in Rydalch with a single to left.
Baker was 4-for-5 with four runs scored and an RBI, and Kennedie Anderson was 3-for-4 with two doubles, four RBIs and a run for Tooele.
Staley led Stansbury’s offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, and Hicks had the Stallions’ only extra-base hit. Jones allowed nine runs on 12 hits, striking out four and walking none in six-plus innings. Hicks gave up one run on four hits with a strikeout in one inning of relief.
Both teams played Region 10 home games Tuesday after press time — Tooele faced Uintah, and Stansbury took on Juan Diego. The Buffs will travel to Draper on Monday to take on Juan Diego after taking a pause for Spring Break, while the Stallions’ next game is April 6 in Vernal against Uintah.