The Bear River Lady Bears continued surging after defeating the Stansbury Lady Stallions last week, but the final three playoff spots are currently occupied by a team from Tooele County.
The Grantsville Cowboys picked up wins on Thursday and Friday to remain in third place just one loss behind both Bear River and Stansbury in the loss column. The win on Thursday came against the Tooele Lady Buffaloes.
Tooele’s comeback effort in the sixth inning fell short for the Cowboys to pick up the win 7-3. Junior pitcher Whitney Fields led the Cowboys in the circle and from the plate. Fields struck out five Lady Buffs and gave up just one run in four innings pitched, and she went 2-for-3 with one home run and four RBIs at bat. With Maddie Johnson on second base and Kolbi Jo Meno on third base, Fields stepped in and cranked a pitch to left-center field off Tooele freshman Izzy Nicholas to make the score 6-0 in the top of the third inning.
Alysia Roybal sparked the comeback effort for the Lady Buffs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score at 7-1. She led off the inning with a base hit, and she was followed by Kaitlyn Bitters with a base hit of her own. Both runners advanced a base on a passed ball, and then Rylee Whitehouse drew a walk to load the bases. Trystin Crofts capitalized with an RBI base hit to score Roybal, and it kept the bases loaded. Nicholas then reached base on an error in the next at-bat to score Bitters and make the score 7-3. GHS sophomore pitcher Sydney Barney, pitching in relief, powered through and got out of the inning without allowing anymore runs.
In the bottom of the seventh, Barney gave up a base hit to Tooele’s Whitnie Touhuni, but she gave up nothing else to finish off the victory.
Frailey and Tooele bounced back the following day with a road victory at the Ogden Tigers 18-3. The win secured a tiebreaker for the Lady Buffs over the Tigers, which is key because both teams sit at fourth and fifth place. The Lady Buffs hold fourth place with a record of 3-4 in the region, and the Tigers sit in fifth place with a record of 3-6 in the region. The magic number for the Lady Buffs to clinch that final spot is three wins, and they still have two games against Morgan and one against Ben Lomond. Both of those teams are at the bottom of the region standings.
The road ahead is especially difficult for the Tigers. They still have road games at Stansbury and Bear River, and to lose any games from here on out would decrease the number of games the Lady Buffs have to win.
Grantsville followed up its win over Tooele with a 16-1 win against Ben Lomond. Bailey Critchlow pitched for the Cowboys that day and gave up just one hit that led to Ben Lomond’s only run. The win kept the Cowboys just one game behind Bear River and Stansbury in the loss column for the region championship.
The Cowboys have a chance to move back into a tie with Bear River on Wednesday when the two teams meet in Garland. The Lady Bears defeated the Cowboys 4-3 on March 29, so any hopes for a region championship for the Cowboys rests in Wednesday’s game. The Cowboys are 7-2 in the standings behind Stansbury at 7-1 and Bear River at 8-1.
Stansbury last played on Wednesday in its loss to Bear River, and it next plays against Ogden on Wednesday. It then plays on the road at Tooele on Thursday. Stansbury split its two meetings with Bear River this season.
With Bear River, Stansbury and Grantsville already having clinched playoff spots, it’s now a matter of playing for the region championship and determining what seeds each team will receive in the state tournament. The team that clinches the No. 1 seed will get to host the first round of the state tournament. The No. 2 seed will play in the group of four at the Region 10 host site. Juan Diego currently leads Region 10. The No. 3 seed will visit the Region 12 host site. Spanish Fork currently leads Region 12. The No. 4 seed will visit the Region 9 host site. Snow Canyon currently leads Region 9 with an undefeated region and overall record.