With their backs against the wall, the Lady Bears softball team responded in the biggest way possible.
After being shut out in the first of a three-game championship series on Friday, the Bear River High softball team bounced back with two wins on Saturday to capture the school’s 10th state championship trophy and reclaim its spot as the top 4A program in the state.
Playing at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex, the Bears faced a familiar foe in the championship round, Tooele High, who they came from behind to beat 3-2 in a regular season game in Garland on April 19. The Buffaloes earned the top seed in the tournament, while the Bears were seeded No. 2.
On Friday, the Buffaloes stampeded to a 5-0 win, scoring two runs in the second inning and adding three in the sixth inning for good measure. Seniors Attlyn Johnson and Emma Higley had two hits apiece, with Higley driving in four runs on the afternoon.
The loss meant the Bears faced a do-or-die situation in game two on Saturday, and they wasted no time getting on the board, scoring twice in the first inning to take the early lead. Bear River scored two more runs in the third inning, which would prove to be more than they needed as they took game 2 by a score of 4-2. Sisters Oaklie Maxfield and McCall Maxfield each hit a home run in the first inning in propelling the Bears into a third and final game. Baylee Sorensen got the win in the circle.
While the Maxfield sisters’ homers proved to be the difference on the scoreboard, it was a spectacular defensive play from Olivia Taylor that may have saved the Bears’ season. In the fourth inning, Tooele’s Johnson hit one deep, forcing Taylor all the way back, where she caught the ball while diving over the fence to deny what would have been a home run for the Buffaloes.
“She’s, to me, our MVP,” Bear River Head Coach Calvin Bingham told the Deseret News. “How she goes is how we go.”
In the championship game, Kate Dahle stood tall in the circle for the Bears as Tooele didn’t get on the board until the sixth inning. By then, Bear River had a 10-1 lead and would go on to add four more runs in the seventh an final inning to hold off a late rally by the Buffaloes.
The Bears’ bats came alive at the best possible time as they amassed 15 hits, led by homers from Cami Gibbs and again from McCall Maxfield. At the end of the day, Bear River won the game, 14-6, and their first state championship as a member of the 4A classification.
Before facing Tooele, the Bears won a regional series at home against Hurricane, then took down Uintah, Crimson Cliffs and Snow Canyon in Spanish Fork to reach the final round.
The state trophy is the Bears’ 10th overall and first since 2018. The players were given a big hometown welcome Saturday night, complete with a fire-truck escort victory lap through Tremonton and ending at the high school in Garland.