The Tooele Lady Buffaloes took care of business on Thursday against the Morgan Trojans to secure the final spot in the 3A state tournament.
The Lady Buffs won the game 12-1 and were led offensively by Alyssa Arslanian, Lauren Frailey and Sierrah Anderson.
Arslanian got the offense started for the Lady Buffs with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. She powered a pitch that bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Arslanian advanced to third base on a wild pitch, and in the attempt to gun her down at third, the throw sailed into the outfield, allowing Arslanian to score.
Frailey then got on base with a bloop single, and Jocelyn Duncan came in for her as a courtesy runner. Alysia Roybal reached base on an error in the next at-bat to bring Anderson to the plate.
Anderson hit one deep, which scored Duncan and Roybal, and she looked to be on her way safely to third base. The Morgan fielders committed errors on the play that allowed Anderson to keep going, as she turned the play into an inside-the-park home run, giving Tooele a 4-0 lead.
The Lady Buffs just piled on the runs from there. Izzy Nicholas picked up an infield hit in the bottom of the second inning that led to her stealing second base and then third base. Another overthrow on the attempt to catch her stealing third allowed her to score. With Whitnie Touhuni on second base, Frailey delivered a base hit to right field that brough Touhuni home and made the score 6-0.
Nicholas delivered another base hit in the third inning that brought home Kaitlyn Bitters, and then Trystin Crofts reached base on an error that scored Rylee Whitehouse, making the score 8-0.
Arslanian then picked up her second ground-rule double of the game with the bases loaded later in the third inning, scoring Nicholas and Crofts for a 10-0 lead. Roybal brought home Touhuni and Arslanian with a base hit to make the score 12-0 by the end of the third inning.
Tooele coach Melanie Nelson said she was glad to pick up the playoff spot against Morgan, the team chasing the Lady Buffs in the standings, which left nothing to chance with tiebreakers.
“We better have (secured the final spot) because I made the hotel arrangements [Thursday],” Nelson joked.
She said the players finally found their offensive groove during the final two weeks of the season, which makes them dangerous going forward.
“There hasn’t really been a hole in our lineup for a few games now, which is really good to see,” Nelson said. “Defense has been hit or miss. Lauren (Frailey) produced ground balls, and that’s what we’ve been struggling with, and they made the plays today. We came out relaxed, and sometimes that’s hard after a killer game like yesterday.”
Nelson alluded to Tooele’s loss to Grantsville on Wednesday when the team gave up an eight-run lead in the sixth inning. However, she said winning three of four games on April 27 gave her players some much needed confidence to help make it into the state tournament.
“That’s the whole reason we do that tournament is to get us ready for state,” she said.
The Lady Buffs battled Ben Lomond on Friday in the regular season finale and won that game 16-0. The game itself didn’t matter for postseason positioning, as Tooele would be the No. 4 seed whether it won or lost that game. But Tooele’s offense got to finish the season on a strong note, and Frailey gave up no hits in the three-inning, mercy rule shutout.
Tooele will now travel to St. George on Saturday for the opening round of the state tournament. It will face undefeated Snow Canyon, the No. 1 seed from Region 9.