Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 20, 2021
There have been a lot of reasons to cheer lately

Last week sure was a fun time to be around high school sports here in Tooele County.

In fact, I can’t remember a more exciting week in quite a long time — especially not one where all the thrilling moments took place right here in our own backyard. I’m definitely not forgetting the stretch a couple years back when Tooele and Grantsville won state softball titles a week apart, but those wins happened in Spanish Fork.

This week, all the thrills happened right here. 

Take last Tuesday, for example. The Grantsville softball team came in with something to prove against a previously undefeated South Summit squad intent on proving it belonged at the top of the Class 3A heap. Instead, the Wildcats left humbled by the Cowboys, who reminded everyone why they’re the three-time defending state champions and appear primed to contend for another one next month. 

On the other side of Grantsville City Park, the Cowboys were battling with longtime nemesis Judge Memorial in a back-and-forth, high-scoring soccer match. Grantsville led 2-0 in the first half, before the Bulldogs came back to take a 3-2 lead late. The Cowboys tied the match in the final six minutes of regulation and JJ Backus’ breakaway goal in the second overtime gave the Cowboys a program-defining win over the two-time defending state champs.

Then came Wednesday, when Grantsville’s Sam Daybell hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Cowboys to a 5-4 win over Summit Academy on the baseball field — GHS’ eighth win in its past nine games. While the Cowboys eventually lost the series finale on Friday, Grantsville has won each of its first three series of the Region 13 season, which will prove crucial as the Cowboys hope to capture the region crown.

Thursday brought a pair of 9-3 victories at Stansbury High School — one for the Grantsville softball team over the host Stallions, and the other by Stansbury’s baseball team over Juan Diego. The Stallions’ win on the baseball field earned them an important split of their home-and-home against the Soaring Eagle, keeping Stansbury atop the region standings.

On the softball field, Grantsville’s win represented the renewal of a long-dormant rivalry with the Stallions. It was nice to see the two county schools meet again — and while it was competitive, it was also friendly (one only had to see the brief dance-off between Grantsville pitcher August Cowan and Stansbury senior Maame Johnson while Johnson stood in the on-deck circle during a brief delay for proof). The more Tooele, Stansbury and Grantsville play each other, the better it is for all involved.

Friday brought the week to a close with the Tooele softball team’s 1-0, walk-off win over a previously undefeated Spanish Fork squad. Not only was it a rematch of the state championship game from two years ago, but it was a battle of two of Utah’s premier softball programs — and it more than lived up to that billing. Kate Hogan’s seventh-inning home run was all the run support starting pitcher Attlyn Johnston needed in a 17-strikeout three-hit shutout. 

Friday’s action also 3-0 Stansbury win over Tooele in a Region 10 boys soccer match that seemed closer than the final score would indicate. Tooele goalkeeper Deven Randle made several spectacular saves in the first half to keep the Buffaloes within striking distance, and Stansbury’s Devun Collins robbed Tooele’s Chris Rhea on a would-be game-tying shot in the second half.

The more impressive thing was the spirit of camaraderie between the two teams afterward. Even in the wake of a physical, hard-fought match, they shared handshakes and laughter once the final whistle blew. 

Yes, it’s a rivalry, but it’s also a game. Games are supposed to be fun. I think that’s something we can all cheer for when all is said and done.

Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He has been incredibly busy since the spring sports season began, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Email him at dvaughan@tooeletranscript.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>