Desert Hills softball team cruises past Hurricane as St. Clair strikes out 12

Hurricane junior Mesa Jones swings and misses at a pitch by Brianna St. Clair of Desert Hills. St. Clair struck out 12 batters as the Lady Thunder won their region opener 6-1, Hurricane, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

HURRICANE — Backed by a strong pitching performance by Brianna St. Clair, the Desert Hills High softball team beat the Hurricane Lady Tigers 6-1 in their region opener Tuesday afternoon.

Brianna St. Clair of Desert Hills winds up during a pitch delivery. The Lady Thunder beat Hurricane in the season opener 6-1, Hurricane, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

St. Clair, a senior southpaw, pitched the entire game, scattering six hits over seven innings and striking out 12 batters. She didn’t allow any runs until Hurricane’s Mellina Madsen singled to left with two out in the last inning, scoring Abbie Elison, who’d reached base after getting hit by a pitch.

Although St. Clair didn’t walk any batters during the game, she did hit three batters with pitches and the Lady Thunder committed an uncharacteristic six fielding errors during the contest.

Those setbacks didn’t faze St. Clair, however.

“Our coach tells us to keep things steady,” St. Clair said after the game. “If we make a mistake, we just let that go and focus on getting the next out.”

Desert Hills took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Addi Betts singled with two out, scoring Chelsea Pierce, who’d also reached base on a single.

The Lady Thunder got two more runs in the third inning when Tori Hinton singled with the bases loaded, scoring both St. Clair and Katelyn Philips.

Neither team scored in the fourth or fifth innings, but St. Clair scored another run after reaching first base via walk in the sixth, stealing second and third, and crossing the plate when Pierce reached first base safely on a dropped ball by a Hurricane outfielder.

Desert Hills got two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh, thanks to a single by Codi Olds that drove in Savannah Wright, and a double by St. Clair that scored Olds.

Freshman pitcher Chantelle Pearson went the distance for the Lady Tigers, who struggled to advance runners throughout the game. Nine Hurricane baserunners were left stranded during the contest.

Hurricane’s Hannah Thompson reached base on an infield error to lead off the bottom of the fifth, when the Tigers were still within striking distance, down 3-0. But a popup during Haven Smith’s subsequent bunt attempt led to a double play.

Hurricane freshman Chantelle Pearson fires a pitch against Desert Hills, Hurricane, Utah, March 20, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Hurricane also had two runners reach base in the sixth inning, but both ended up occupying third base together briefly by mistake after Pearson put the ball in play with a grounder to third. Desert Hills recovered from its initial fielding error in time to throw out Heather Stout at the plate, ending the inning.

Hurricane next plays at Canyon View Friday at 4 p.m., while Desert Hills has a home game vs. Dixie at that same time.

Snow Canyon 10, Pine View 0

In other Region 9 action Tuesday, the Snow Canyon Lady Warriors rolled to a 10-0 shutout win over Pine View. The game was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Senior Natalie Gunn had three base hits and drove in three runs for Snow Canyon, while sophomore Megan Rogers belted a two-run home run.

Pitcher Marley Moala pitched all five innings for Snow Canyon, giving up just three hits and walking only one batter.

Pine View assistant coach Russ Nielson said the Lady Panthers had runners on second and third in each of the first two innings, but were unable to score.

Neilson said the Warriors also capitalized on Pine View’s miscues, getting a few unearned runs.

“We had a few errors that gave them too many runs,” Neilson said.

Snow Canyon will next play Cedar at Cedar on Friday at 4 p.m. Pine View’s next region game is next March 27 at home against Canyon View, also at 4 p.m.

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