Lady Thunder overcome early deficit, roll to 12-4 win over Hurricane

Tori Hinton of Desert Hills fouls off a pitch during the Lady Thunder's 12-4 win over Hurricane, St. George, Utah, April 13, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Desert Hills High School softball team overcame an early three-run deficit to defeat the visiting Hurricane Tigers Friday, 12-4.

Senior Hannah Thompson got things off to a good start for the Tigers, leading off with a single in the top of the first. Hurricane’s next batter, Haven Smith, was ruled out for a foul bunt on the third strike, but Mellina Madsen then followed with a hard-hit grounder to third base. The ensuing attempt to force out the runner at second was overthrown, however, and Thompson ended up scoring on the play. Madsen then scored shortly afterward when teammate Mesa Jones belted a double to right.

Hurricane’s Hannah Thompson scores the first run of the game, an eventual 12-4 win by Desert Hills over Hurricane, St. George, Utah, April 13, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Two batters later, Heather Stout hit a single up the middle, bringing in Jones, and Hurricane ended up with a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first.

“(Hurricane) came out really aggressive and jumped on our mistakes and got three runs in the first inning,” Desert Hills coach KaCee McArthur said. “We kind of made some errors and they jumped right on it.”

Desert Hills didn’t stay down for long, however, as the Lady Thunder rallied for four runs of their own in the bottom of the first to take a 4-3 lead.

“We kind of struggled the first inning but then we snapped back out of it,” McArthur said. “We maybe were not as focused as we should have been, but we kind of flipped the switch.”

In the bottom of the first, Desert Hills’ first three batters all reach base and eventually scored. Brianna St. Clair walked, after which Katelyn Philips bunted and beat out the throw for an infield single. Addi Betts then also walked, loading the bases.

Hurricane pitcher Chantelle Pearson then struck out the next two Thunder batters, but St. Clair scored on a passed ball. Chelsea Pierce then walked, during which Philips scored on another passed ball. Savannah Wright nearly popped up to end the inning, but the foul ball was dropped by an infielder. Wright then knocked a two-run double to center field, giving the Thunder a 4-3 lead after one.

Neither team scored in the second, with Philips being the only player to reach base that inning, on a single.

Brianna St. Clair of Desert Hills throws a pitch during the Lady Thunder’s 12-4 win over Hurricane, St. George, Utah, April 13, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

In the top of the third, Smith successfully laid down a bunt single to start off the inning. Madsen sacrificed Smith to second with a bunt of her own, but the Tigers could not advance Smith any further, as the next three batters lined out, walked and struck out, respectively.

In the bottom of the third, Desert Hills batted its way through the lineup, scoring five more runs on just two hits and two walks, as Hurricane dropped three fly balls. Codi Olds even struck out for what would have been the third out, but reached first safely due to a passed ball on the third strike. She later scored, along with two of her teammates, on Philips’ three-run double to center. After three innings, Desert Hills led 9-3.

Abbie Elison batted to lead off the top of the fourth for Hurricane, reaching base after getting hit by a pitch. The next two batters got out. Thompson then drilled a triple to left center field, scoring Elison. But Smith’s ensuing attempt to score Thompson with a bunt was unsuccessful, as St. Clair fielded the ball cleanly and threw Smith out at first for the third out.

Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth, when Desert Hills tacked on three more insurance runs to go ahead 12-4. St. Clair led off the sixth with a single, after which Philips reached base yet again on a fielder’s choice play in which both runners ended up safe. Addi Betts then cranked a single to left, but Philips was thrown out at home on the play. Tori Hinton then followed with a single to right, and Kylee Christensen brought in another run, even though she was thrown out at first.

Hurricane came up empty in the top of the seventh and final inning, with two batters striking out and one grounding out to third. Jones was the only batter to reach base for the Tigers in the final inning, with a double to center.

“In the first inning, we finally got a few of our bats strung together, which was good,” Hurricane head coach Ryan Smith said. “And then not only that, we hit pretty well throughout the game. We just couldn’t string them together again after that.”

Nevertheless, Smith said he was pleased with the Lady Tigers’ efforts.

“I’m really proud of us today,” he said. “If we can play like that against the other teams in our region, we’ll be all right the rest of the season.”

St. Clair and Pearson, both of whom happen to wear uniform number 6, pitched the entire game for their respective teams. St. Clair struck out 10 batters while allowing eight hits, while Pearson struck out six and gave up 10 hits in the Tigers’ loss.

In other Region 9 action Friday, Cedar shut out Dixie and Snow Canyon defeated Pine View.

Cedar 16, Dixie 0

At Cedar City, the league-leading Lady Reds rolled to a 16-0 shutout win over Dixie. The game was called after the top of the third inning due to the mercy rule. McKenzie Waters picked up the pitching win for Cedar, allowing only one base runner. The Lady Reds saw four different players each hit a home run, namely Dream Weaver, Denim Henkel, Sage Oldroyd and Kylie Oldroyd.

Snow Canyon 9, Pine View 3

At Pine View, the Snow Canyon Lady Warriors built an early six-run lead after three innings and hung on to defeat Pine View, 9-3.

“We turned a bases-loaded 6-4-3 double play that got us out of a jam in the fourth,” Snow Canyon head coach Tracee Heaton said.

Leading the way for Snow Canyon’s offense was Alex Deming, who went 3 for 4 at the plate, and Sydney McCaul, who hit a home run. Starting pitcher Payten Jensen earned the win for the Warriors, striking out six and allowing no hits before being relieved by Marley Moala in the fifth inning. Meanwhile, Pine View’s Abby Neilson threw all seven innings in the loss.

Next up on the Region 9 schedule are three games Tuesday, April 17 at 4 p.m., with Snow Canyon playing at Cedar, Canyon View playing at Hurricane and Desert Hills playing at Dixie.

Region 9 standings (region, overall)

  1. Cedar 7-0, 13-5
  2. Desert Hills  6-1, 15-3
  3. Snow Canyon 6-2, 12-6
  4. Canyon View 2-3, 3-6
  5. Hurricane  2-4, 9-5
  6. Pine View  1-6, 6-11
  7. Dixie  0-7, 1-14

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