The Grantsville softball team relies a lot on its underclassmen, and sophomore Maddison Peterson had a lot on her plate coming into Saturday’s Class 3A first-round playoff game against Providence Hall as the starting pitcher and leadoff batter.
The pressure didn’t bother her one bit. Quite the opposite, actually. She tossed a five-inning one-hitter and went 3-for-3 with three doubles and two RBIs to help the Cowboys to a 10-0 win over the Patriots, getting Grantsville’s state-title defense off to a solid start.
“Before every game, Coach tells us not to underestimate any team,” Peterson said. “You look at stats and you look at scores, but you never know what they have. I just came out and tried to play the ‘A’ game like we had to last year (in the championship game) against Bear River. I was expecting their best.”
About the only thing that went wrong for Peterson and the Cowboys (20-5) came in the first inning, when she was thrown out at third base while trying to stretch a double into a triple. The Cowboys also had trouble adjusting to Providence Hall pitcher Audrey Eckhart early in the game, managing only a single run off a Laura Sandberg sacrifice fly that scored Kylee Leach in the second inning as they went through the lineup for the first time. But once they got used to Eckhart’s slower pace, the Cowboys erupted for nine runs on 10 hits in the third and fourth innings, quickly turning the game into a blowout.
“We just had to get through the lineup that one time and see what (Eckhart’s) got,” Taylor said. “Then, they just kind of settled down and hit the ball.”
Grantsville’s surge began with an infield single by Maizie Clark to lead off the bottom of the third. Peterson drove Clark in with a double to left field. After a sacrifice bunt by Hailey Delaney advanced speed-up runner Sami Linares to third base, Breana Hiatt ripped an RBI double to right to put Grantsville up 3-0. Addison Smith followed with a two-run home run to left to make it 5-0.
The fourth inning was a continuation of the third. Clark again led off with an infield single and scored on a double to left by Peterson. Linares was called out for interfering with the Providence Hall shortstop on Delaney’s ground ball, and it appeared that the Patriots might get out of the inning without further harm when Hiatt grounded out for the second out. But Smith was hit by a pitch and Leach followed with an RBI single to left that scored Delaney, setting the stage for an RBI single by Sandberg and an RBI double by pinch-hitter Rylee Udom to increase the lead to 10-0.
“That’s kind of been our thing this year, to do it in five or less,” Peterson said. “We want to just prepare ourselves, tighten down really fast and score a lot of runs really quick.”
Peterson then slammed the door on Providence Hall, retiring the Patriots in order in the top of the fifth to end the game by the 10-run rule. Peterson had seven strikeouts and two walks in the contest.
“She did awesome today,” Taylor said.
Grantsville will face South Sevier in the second round of the tournament Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex. The winner of that game will advance to Friday’s quarterfinals, while the loser will meet San Juan in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Thursday.