When the Class 3A state softball championship is decided in May, the girls from Carbon and Grantsville figure to be right there in the conversation.
For eight innings on Wednesday afternoon in Grantsville, the Dinos and Cowboys showed exactly why they’re considered among 3A’s very best. In a game marked by excellent pitching and strong defense, Carbon escaped with a 4-3 win against the three-time defending state champion Cowboys.
Carbon (7-1, 3-0 Region 12) dodged a bullet in the bottom of the seventh inning after Grantsville (2-3, 1-0 Region 13) loaded the bases with one out in a tie game. Madelyn Lee singled to left and advanced to second on a defensive miscue by the Dinos, and August Cowan followed with a walk. Breana Hiatt hit a blooper to short right field to load the bases, but Carbon pitcher Haven Byerly struck out Breanna Kimber and Matajia Fields to get out of the jam and send the game to the international tiebreaker.
That meant the Dinos opened the eighth inning with pinch-runner Jenna Richards standing on second base. Carbon’s Brooke Moosman took a pitch from Cowan off her forearm and Amya Prettyman hit an infield single to load the bases, which enabled Richards to score the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice by Stevie Oman. Cowan retired the next two Dinos batters to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Grantsville’s eighth inning began with pinch-runner Brooklyn Frischknecht on second base, and Kenzie Allen drew a leadoff walk. After Kyrah Shores and Addison Butler struck out, Miyah Fields walked to load the bases. Lee ripped a hard line drive to right field, only to have Carbon’s Graycie Hansen make the catch to end the game.
However, it took some heroics on both sides to have the game even reach the eighth inning. With Carbon leading 3-0 after five and a half innings, and Byerly having allowed just one hit up to that point, the Cowboys suddenly found their offensive groove. Lee, pinch-hitting for Hillary Cloward, hit a leadoff single up the middle and advanced to second on an error by the Dinos’ outfielders. Cowan walked, and Hiatt got Grantsville on the board with a line-drive double off the fence in left field. After Kimber reached base on an error and Matajia Fields struck out, Allen’s second double of the afternoon — accompanied by birthday wishes from her teammates in the dugout — drove in two runs to tie the game. Two batters later, it appeared that Butler was about to give Grantsville the lead with a drive to center field, but Oman made an impressive catch at the fence to deny Butler’s would-be two-run home run and end the inning.
Carbon took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on an unearned run, as a Grantsville error with two outs allowed Oman to score from second base. Two more unearned runs followed in the top of the sixth inning to extend the Dinos’ lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, both teams’ pitchers kept the opposition in check. Byerly gave up three earned runs on six hits with 17 strikeouts and four walks in eight innings, and Cowan allowed one earned run on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Byerly’s defense committed four errors behind her, and Grantsville committed three errors behind Cowan.
Grantsville will travel to Morgan for a Region 13 game against the Trojans on Friday. The Cowboys’ next home game is April 6 against Summit Academy.