The Buffaloes bolted right back into the race for the Region 11 softball title by stunning the state’s top ranked team Bear River 5-0 Friday afternoon at Deseret Peak Complex.
Tooele scored three runs in the first inning, added one run in the fourth inning plus a final run in the fifth inning to pile up enough runs to thwart the usually prolific scoring Bears.
Meanwhile, Tooele pitcher Lauren Frailey fired a shutout by making batters hit the ball right at her teammates. Tooele’s defense also shined with big plays to keep the Bears from scoring any runs. It was the first time this season the Bears have been held scoreless in a game.
“Lauren Frailey did a fantastic job. She didn’t have a lot of strikeouts, but was able to produce outs with her pitching,” said Tooele coach Melanie Nelson. “Each practice and each game our team has gotten better and better and we’ve become closer and closer as a team. I feel inspired by the way the team is coming together. The girls had to adjust with a new coach this year after having great coaches in the past. And we’re also starting three to five freshmen in games so I think there was a transition period for them.”
With the win Tooele improves to 5-2 in Region 11 and are now tied with Stansbury (5-2) for second place behind the first-place Bears with a 6-1 record. Grantsville is in fourth with a 4-2 record. Tooele’s overall record is only 8-9, but the Buffaloes have faced their usual slate of extremely strong pre-season opponents.
Tooele executed its short game to fill the bases in the first inning and bring home three runs. Hadli Sorenson walked followed by a bunt single by Keylie Sorenson and an infield hit by Frailey. Hadli Sorenson raced home from third base while the Bear River pitcher was walking back to the circle. “Hadli’s such a smart player and she’s aware of what’s going on in the game so she’s able to make plays like that,” the coach said.
Then, Alyssa Arslanian belted a long drive to deep center field to score Keylie Sorenson and pinch runner Darian Rael. Arslanian ended up being a tough out for the Bears with three hits and walk in the game.
The Bears loaded the bases in the third inning with one out, but Frailey was able to get a pop out and the Tooele infield made a strong play for a force out at second base to end the inning.
Arslanian singled to left field to open the bottom of the fourth for the Buffaloes and moved to third base on a pair of errors by the Bears. Arslanian scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Rylee Whitehouse.
The Buffaloes extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Kirsten Zander reached first with two outs on a walk. She scooted to second on Arslanian’s third hit of the day and over to third base on a wild pitch. Zander scored on a squeeze bunt by Kaitlyn Bitters.
Bear River loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, but Frailey struck out a batter to end the threat.
Bitters made a solid play at second base for the Buffaloes in the top of the seventh for the first out and Frailey struck out the next batter. The top of the Bear River line-up came up with two outs and made some noise. Morgan Summers ripped a single followed by a single from Kasie Fronk. Bear River pitcher and third hitter Jordan Theurer came to the plate and blasted a long drive to deep center tracked down by Hadli Sorenson for the final out of the game.
Tooele hosts Ogden on Friday at 3:30 p.m.