Hurricane withstands late Pine View rally to eke out home softball win

With the bases loaded and one out in the final inning, Kylie Donovan of Pine View fouls off a pitch from Hurricane's Chantelle Pearson. Hurricane won the game 6-5 win over Pine View, Hurricane, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

HURRICANE — The Hurricane High softball team overcame a slow start and withstood Pine View’s last-inning comeback attempt to defeat the Lady Panthers 6-5 Thursday afternoon.

Haven Smith of Hurricane attempts to bunt during Hurricane’s eventual 6-5 win over Pine View, Hurricane, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Freshman pitcher Chantelle Pearson went the distance for the Lady Tigers, allowing four hits while walking six and striking out four. For Pine View, senior Abby Neilson pitched the entire game, striking out nine batters in the loss.

Neither team reached first base in the first inning, but Pine View managed to score one run in the top of the second inning. Senior Kylie Donovan reached base on an error, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Halle Linford. Kaitlin Roundy then reached first safely by beating the throw on an infield grounder, with Donovan reaching third on the play. Neilson then belted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Donovan.

Pine View also managed to get another unearned run in the top of the third, as Hannah James reached base on a fielding error. She eventually scored from third when Hurricane’s catcher attempted to throw out Leachel Barlow as she was stealing second.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning, although Pine View managed to load up the bases in the top half of the inning.

The Panthers drew another blank in the top of the fifth but still held a 2-0 lead at that point.

That’s when Hurricane’s offense came alive. Junior Charley Landis led off the inning with a single to right. The next batter, Heather Stout, hit a grounder to shortstop, which resulted in Landis getting thrown out at second. Hurricane’s next three batters – Pearson, Hannah Thompson, and Haven Smith – all singled and eventually scored, as did Stout. Pine View made successive plays at the plate to get out Thompson and Smith, but both scored safely.

All told, Hurricane sent its entire lineup of nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning, building a 4-2 advantage.

Abby Neilson of Pine View pitches against Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Hurricane head coach Ryan Smith said the Lady Tigers played like a different team once they’d finally scored and taken the lead.

“We’ve just been struggling to play the full seven innings,” Smith said. “We were frustrated early on, but after the fifth inning, we finally loosened up and began to play better.”

Unable to score in the top of the sixth, Pine View then gave up two more runs in the bottom of the inning, as Hurricane padded its lead to 6-2. Thompson’s hit to left field got past the outfielder, giving her a double and driving in both Landis and Stout. Thompson finished with three total hits and three RBIs.

Down 6-2 in the top of the seventh and final inning, the Panthers loaded up the bases with one out, but power hitter Donovan struck out with a full count for the second out. Linford then walked with the bases full, bringing in a run, after which Roundy hit a high fly ball to left that was dropped, enabling both Barlow and Sydney McArthur to score. Pine View then trailed 6-5 with two runners on base.

With Linford, the tying run, occupying third base with two out, Pearson threw a passed ball to Neilson that went to the backstop. However, Linford wasn’t sent home on the play by head coach Kim Hafen. Instead, they opted to play it safe in hopes Neilson could drive in a run or two.

“We were second-guessing that play,” admitted Pine View assistant coach Russ Neilson. “But the way the ball bounced right back off the backstop, it was a bit too risky to send her in.”

Neilson ended up walking, after which Kinzie Sullivan flew out to second base to end the game. The final catch was Hurricane second baseman Savannah Jessop’s fourth putout of the contest.

“They really put the pressure on us,” assistant coach Neilson said of the Tigers. “We made some mental errors, but we didn’t give in.”

Hurricane, which won both of its region games this week, will play at Cedar next Thursday, April 5, for its next region contest. Pine View’s next region game is Tuesday at home against Desert Hills.

In other Region 9 action Thursday, Desert Hills beat Snow Canyon, 14-5.

In addition, Canyon View won at Dixie, defeating the Lady Flyers 14-1. Jordan Nielson was the Falcons’ winning pitcher, allowing just three hits total while batting in four RBIs offensively. Teammate Avery Allen added two RBIs for Canyon View, which knocked a total of 16 hits off Dixie’s freshman hurler Kylee Terrell, who pitched all five innings in the loss.

Region 9 standings (region, overall)

  1. Cedar 3-0, 9-5
  2. Canyon View 2-0, 3-3
  3. Desert Hills  3-1, 12-2
  4. Hurricane  2-1, 9-2
  5. Snow Canyon 1-2, 6-5
  6. Pine View  0-3, 5-8
  7. Dixie  0-4, 1-11

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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