HYRUM — Hits were hard to come by Tuesday at Mountain Crest.
In fact, the first one didn’t come until the bottom of the fourth in a showdown of Region 11 softball teams as Mustang pitcher Halle Maddock and Ridgeline pitcher Markessa Jensen put on a show in tough conditions. While Mountain Crest recorded the first base knock of the game, it was the visiting Riverhawks that came through with some timely ones in the sixth and seventh frames.
Ridgeline was able to pull even with Mountain Crest in the region standings with a 6-1 victory on a very windy day on the diamond.
“We didn’t adjust well, hitting the ball, until the end,” Riverhawk head coach Mike Anderson said. “... When we started getting hits, it seemed like we took a breath and started to play. Hats off to Mountain Crest. They coached good, and the Maddock girl pitched a good game.”
The Riverhawks (12-2, 3-1 region) first hit didn’t come until the sixth inning. Shelby Blankenship led off the top of the sixth. The sophomore took a 2-0 offering from Maddock and deposited it just over the right field fence for her first varsity home run, giving Ridgeline a 1-0 lead.
“What helped me was all my teammates in the dugout were so loud that it got my spirits up and got me going,” Blankenship said. “It didn’t register that it was out, so I was just rounding the base hard. Then I saw (first base coach) Lody (Hale) and my teammates cheering.”
It was a spark the Riverhawks were looking for. Kenzee Hale followed the dinger with a single. With two outs, Kaylee Smith hit a ball hard right off MC third baseman Emma Child for a two-run single, giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.
“My teammates really got loose and started hitting the ball,” Blankenship said.
“Can’t say enough about Shelby,” Anderson said. “That’s a big hit. She had some good at bats and came up big with a defensive play.”
Jensen retired the Mustangs (5-3, 3-1) in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Ridgeline would double its lead in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Psadi Takis was hit by a pitch, and Blankenship reached base on an error. Hale then blasted a three-run shot over the fence in left field to give the Riverhawks a 6-0 lead.
“That was big to get three more runs before the bottom of the seventh,” Anderson said. “We would have pitched different, if it was a three-run lead. But we could be more aggressive. I was proud of Kenzee to hit that and against the wind.”
The Mustangs got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. Teagan Hall took the first pitch she saw and smacked it over the center field fence for a solo homer. Child followed with a single, but the Mountain Crest rally ended there.
“They (Riverhawks) got hits when they needed them and we just couldn’t find one when we needed it,” Mustang head coach Courtnee Maughan said. “... We just couldn’t pull it together and they out hit us. We are going to let this one burn for the rest of night, because it should. It is not a game we should have lost, especially like that. We are going to let it sting and use that to come back and work our butts off and be ready for Bear River on Friday.”
Jensen picked up her eighth strikeout of the contest and enticed a fly ball to end the game. She needed just 10 pitches in the seventh, which was pretty much the theme throughout for the Riverhawk pitcher, who allowed three hits and didn’t issue a base on balls.
“She (Jensen) is starting to understand her dominance as a pitcher,” Anderson said. “She didn’t get rattled. She threw some good pitches and was aggressive. I was really happy with her.”
Maddock also struck out eight and gave up just five hits. She walked two batters, but it didn’t do any damage.
“She (Maddock) was throwing well against a good hitting team,” Maughan said. “She definitely had them swinging.”
With Maddock and Jensen using on average about 12 pitches each inning, the game was moving right along. The no-hit bid by Jensen was broken up in the bottom of the fourth when Aspen Leishman hit a double over the left fielder’s head. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Maddy Bertagnoli, but was stranded there when Jensen struck out a Mustang and enticed a pop up to Blankenship at first.
“We just attack the ball and pick it up wherever it goes,” Blankenship said.
The Mustangs were left with wondering what might have happened if they could have scored in the fourth.
“We just couldn’t get her (Leishman) in,” Maughan said. “We were right in the line up where I though we could make it happen. It just didn’t happen.”
OTHER SOFTBALL ACTION
In other Region 11 games Tuesday, they were both shortened affairs. Sky View won at home against Logan, 10-0, in five innings. Green Canyon was blanked at Bear River in four innings, 17-0. Preston dropped a twinbill at home to Pocatello in district action, 8-0 and 3-2.
At Smithfield, the Bobcats (6-6-1, 1-3) picked up their first region win as Cambria Davis threw a one-hitter, striking out nine and walking one. She got plenty of help as eight different SV players recorded a hit and finished with 12 base knocks.
Tawnee Lundahl, Abbey Cantwell, Davis and Kimber Augustus each recorded two hits a piece. Skylee Haramoto and Brynn Mayhew each recorded triples for the Bobcats.
“Today we put together a complete game,” SV head coach Amanda Robinson said. “We played solid defensively and offensively. Cambria did a great job in the circle.”
After scoring four runs in the first and another four in the second, the Bobcats slowed down in the scoring department. They did end the game early when Morgan Hernandez drew a walk in the bottom of the fifth, went to third on a single by Lundahl and scored on a sacrifice fly by Haramoto.
Nalana Proudlock had the lone hit for the Grizzlies (1-14, 0-4).
At Garland, the Bears (10-3, 4-0) moved into first by themselves with eight runs in the fourth to end the game. They had 12 hits, while Jordyn Warren picked up the win in the circle with seven strikeouts. Bear River had five extra-base hits, and Kate Dahle went 4 for 4 at the plate.
“We held Bear River to three runs after two innings and felt we were off to a good start defensively,” GC head coach Joe Astle said. “We struggled to get hits, which hurt us today. Bear River has a great team and started hitting on us in the third and fourth inning.”
The Wolves (5-9, 1-3) mustered just two hits, singles from Morgan Gittins and Abby Hansen. A pair of Green Canyon pitchers combined to walk five batters and hit two others.
At Preston, Pocatello scattered 14 hits and held the hosts to just three to take the first game. Preston also committed four errors
The nightcap was much closer. Preston actually took a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Rorie Hansen hit a one-out double to start the rally. With two outs, Megan Johnson tripled to right field to bring Hansen home. Johnson then scored off a single by Vanessa Griffeth.
However, Pocatello would score a run in the fourth and two in the fifth to complete the sweep. Miah Lusk pitched both games for the visitors, finishing with 21 strikeouts, while Anna Campbell went 8 for 9 at the plate for Pocatello.
Griffeth and Johnson each had two hits for Preston in the second game.