NORTH LOGAN -- As the second half of Region 11 softball action began Tuesday, the top half continued to distance itself from the bottom half.
Mountain Crest was doing just that, rebounding from a rough week against the front runners. However, Green Canyon didn’t just roll over for the visitors.
The Mustangs galloped to a big lead early, only to see the Wolves chip away and get close after four innings. However, Mountain Crest put the game away in the top of the fifth, leaving with a 17-7 win.
“We’ve had a rough few days, and the goal today was to come ready, swing hard and whatever happens, happens,” Mustang head coach Courtnee Maughan said. “Top to bottom, we put the ball in play. When you put the ball in play, good things happen.”
Mountain Crest (6-4, 4-2 region) scored five runs in the first and again in the second to build a 10-4 lead . The Mustangs had just four hits, but took advantage of drawing five walks and having a batter get hit by a pitch.
“We got behind early and when that happens we seem to lose the wind in our sails,” GC head coach Joe Astle said. “But, they fought back in every inning. We got back in the game, but boom, errors just kill us.”
The Wolves (5-11, 1-5) scored in every inning but the fifth, but seven errors did them in.
“We are way into the season and that stuff (errors) should be out of our system,” Astle said. “Seems like we pressure up and the errors come our way. I’ve got all the confidence in them. They just need to settle down and make it happen. … Fundamentals of the game is what wins or loses games.”
Brooklyn Clark led an 11-hit attack by Mountain Crest with three. Aspen Leishman, Kennedy Peapealalo and Brooke Miller each had two hits a piece. Peapealalo finished with four RBI, while Child and speed-up runner Kate Souter each crossed home plate three times.
“A lot of being a hitter is mental," said Leishman, who had one of three doubles by the Mustangs. “As a pitcher, I know the first pitch is usually going to be a strike, so I just go up to the plate and be aggressive.”
Green Canyon finished with six hits. Madi Peterson scored twice, and Morgan Gittins had two RBI.
Both starting pitchers walked some batters early. Mountain Crest elected to give a second hurler some innings, before going back to Halle Maddock in the final frame.
“Halle had a couple of walks right off the get go, so we wanted to give someone else a chance when there was an opportunity,” Maughan said. “We decided to shake it up a little, then put Halle back in. … We have a lot of games this week, there was no since in burning her (Maddock).”
Annika Eborn went the distance for the Wolves, striking out five and walking five.
“We’ve been changing our pitches up,” Astle said. “Annika did a great job today. We have a lot of confidence and faith in her. Once she settled in, thought she did a heck of a job.”
The Wolves held the Mustangs scoreless in the top of the fourth and then proceeded to rally in the bottom of the frame. Hadlee Harris led off with a single for the hosts. Peterson drew a base on balls, and Kennedy Conan followed with an infield single that turned into two runs as Mountain Crest committed its second error of the game. With one out and a runner at third, Green Canyon trailed 12-7.
It stayed that way as the Mustangs got a huge play from Child at third base. She made a diving catch on a hard hit liner, then dove back and touched her bag for the double play.
The errors returned for the Wolves in the fifth as they had three. The errors coupled with three hits by the Mustangs turned into five runs. Peapealalo and Miller had RBI singles, while Leishman brought home a run on a sacrifice fly.
“In the dugout, we are always getting each other pumped up,” Leishman said. “We know that we need to keep it up because we know what happens when we start strong and don’t finish strong. … Today was a good day. It was a good way to start the second half of the season.”
OTHER REGION GAMES
Two other region games took place Tuesday with Ridgeline winning at Sky View, 15-1, in six innings, and Bear River leaving Logan with a 19-0 victory in three innings.
At Smithfield, it was a close game through four innings. The Riverhawks (14-2, 5-1) held a 4-1 lead. Things changed quickly in the fifth and sixth frames as Ridgeline scored six and five runs, respectively, to pull away in the shortened game.
Kenzee Hale had a big game at the plate for the Riverhawks with three hits, three runs, two RBI, two bases on balls, two doubles and a home run. Ellie Pond, Markessa Jensen and Brinn Anderson each had two hits a piece as Ridgeline finished with 11 as a team. Anderson also scored three runs, had three RBI and drew three walks. Jensen went the distance in the circle, striking out eight and walking three.
The Bobcats (7-7-1, 2-4) were held to four hits, two coming from Abbey Cantwell, who also had an RBI. Three Sky View pitchers combined to strike out five, walk 15 batters and hit one.
At Logan, the Bears (12-3, 6-0) scored 15 times in the top of the first and cruised to remain alone atop the region standings. Bear River added three runs in the second and a lone run in the third.
The Grizzlies (1-16, 0-6) finished with two hits, a pair of singles by Abbey Hart. Two Logan pitchers combined to walk four and hit four Bear River batters.
The Bears recorded 17 hits, nine of the extra-base variety. Kynlei Nelson, Oakley Maxfield and Carlee Miller each had three base knocks for the visitors. Maxfield had a pair of doubles and a home run, and Nelson had a double and triple.