An early grand slam gave Tooele a lead that rival Grantsville never could catch up to.
In the bottom of the first inning in the Tooele High School-Grantsville High School softball matchup Friday, Whitnie Touhuni made an over-the-fence home run with loaded bases, and another lone run in the inning gave the Buffs a 5-0 lead against Grantsville.
Tooele would hold the Cowboys scoreless until the fifth inning, when Grantsville brought three runners home. Grantsville tried to shut Tooele out in later innings, but the Buffs still claimed three more runs for a final score of 8-3.
Tooele coach Melanie Nelson said she was pleased with her team’s performance, and noted that the girls had been working hard to specifically combat some of Grantsville’s defenses and offenses.
“We had been kind of working on how we wanted to approach Whitney Fields as a pitcher. We knew she had a good changeup, so we were working on that,” Nelson said. “That grand slam was actually made on a changeup.”
Fields was switched out for Sydney Barney, who pitched the remainder of the game. Nelson said the change in pitching styles was a big part of freezing the score during the middle innings.
“We didn’t make our adjustments like we should have after they switched Sydney Barney in to pitch. We went flat. We couldn’t score, and you can’t do that. [The other team] can get back in the game,” Nelson said. “That’s what we discussed — we need to win, and we need to win every inning, regardless of what the score is.”
Grantsville coach Heidi Taylor said Tooele’s preparation, combined with a bad day for Fields’ pitches, was what cinched it for the other team.
“That’s what you do. You prepare for the team you’re going to play. I expected that. But Whitney’s pitch wasn’t magical that day. Sometimes it’s untouchable, and other times it’s not,” she said. “That day just wasn’t the best.”
Taylor said there were good points to Grantsville’s performance Friday, and she didn’t feel the game exposed any specific problems to address, even though the outcome was not in the team’s favor.
“We hit the ball, we just hit it right at people. I thought that was a positive. We had a lot of errors. We need to cut back on the errors,” she said. “Tooele’s a tough team. I can’t say it’s my team’s fault. Tooele was just better that day. Mel does a great job with her girls and any game in our region, our county is going to be a tough game.”
Grantsville’s non-region game against Wasatch at the Payson Invitational Saturday was considerably more in their favor as they beat the Wasps 15-2.
Tooele softballers will next hit the field Tuesday in a home game against Bear River. Grantsville also plays Tuesday in a non-region away game against Manti.