Three home runs and a half a dozen strikeouts helped Tooele High School’s squad grab an easy win in the first round of state softball Saturday.
The Lady Buffs grabbed a 11-1 victory in less than five full innings against Morgan High School, giving them an easy advance to the second round Thursday.
Tooele coach Melanie Taylor said the win was a good example of the team’s practice and ability to adapt to new situations — in this case, an unfamiliar pitcher.
“We’ve got to make quick adjustments, and that’s what they did,” she said. “They recognized what the issue was and why they weren’t succeeding at the plate. They did that, and we were able to take off offensively.”
Tooele stuttered a little in the first two innings at bat as hitters discovered that Morgan pitcher Addie Jensen’s throwing style was somewhat different than they were used to.
“I was a little nervous because we struggled offensively with their pitcher the first time around, but once we adjusted for that, we started getting some hits,” Taylor said. “She had a little bit of an upball in the zone and we were going for it when we shouldn’t have.”
Meanwhile, Lauren Frailey helped keep the game zeroed out by pitching four strikeouts to eight batters in the first two innings, and added another strikeout in both the third and fifth innings. The Buffs got into the game in the second inning, when Trystin Crofts hit an inside-the-park home run deep in right field. It wasn’t until the third inning, though, they really found their stride.
Siearrah Anderson started off Tooele’s at-bat with a single to second, but was brought home when Alyssa Arslanian smacked a line-drive home run over the centerfield fence. Alysia Roybal scored a run of her own when Crofts hit a single to shortstop, which was followed by a double by Hanna Strege that brought Frailey and Rylee Whitehouse home. Crofts slid to home plate for a second score on a bunt by Loryn Fonger, who also scored later in the inning to bring the total number of runs in the third inning alone to eight.
The Buffs upped the score to 10-0 in the fourth inning when McKenzie Schofield, running for Whitnie Touhuni, scored on a double to left field by Strege.
The Trojans were able to make it onto the scoreboard when Paige Kinsey scored on a throwing error in the top of the fifth inning, but an over-the-fence home run by Anderson at Tooele’s first at-bat of the inning put the score to 11-1, invoking the mercy rule that calls a game after the fifth inning if the two teams are separated by 10 points or more.
Taylor said the three home runs were good for more than just the scoreboard, especially for the batters who hit them.
“[Anderson’s home run] was really, really good to see because she’s been in a bit of a slum. Those three kids hit the ball really well and we were able to execute the short game when we needed to, as well,” Taylor said. “[Croft] has been coming on pretty strong this last half of the season. It’s been really nice to have her lead the lower half of the lineup. There’s not too many holes right now in our lineup.”
Tooele next takes the field Thursday against Juab High School at the second round of the state competition in Spanish Fork. Juab earned its way into the second round by defeating Snow Canyon High School in a tight 2-1 victory Saturday on Tooele’s fields. Tooele previously faced the Wasps in a non-region game on Juab’s home turf on April 23, walking away with a 5-7 defeat. Taylor said she felt the team would fare better this round.
“Juab’s a good team, they’re a classy team,” Taylor said. “Last time, I just don’t think we brought our heads down there with us. This time, we’ll be there.”