Cedar Lady Reds brave the wind and cold to beat Thunder

Desert Hills pitcher Brianna St. Clair fires a pitch to Cedar's Dream Weaver, Cedar City, Utah, April 19, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — In a showdown between the top two softball teams in Region 9, Cedar High managed to keep its unbeaten region record intact with an 11-7 win over Desert Hills Thursday afternoon.

Allie Meisner of Cedar rounds third base in the first inning against Desert Hills, Cedar City, Utah, April 19, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

It was the second time in as many days the Lady Reds had pulled away from a tie game by scoring four runs late in the contest. Cedar beat Snow Canyon 7-3 on Wednesday.

Thursday’s game against Desert Hills lasted more than two and a half hours and was played in miserably cold and windy conditions. With the score tied 7-7 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Reds staged a four-run rally, then held Desert Hills scoreless in the top of the seventh to secure the victory.

“The best part about today’s game was that both teams just battled,” Cedar head coach Chris Weaver said, adding, “I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game with that many foul balls hit. All of the hitters were just trying so hard. It was just a great game all the way around.”

Desert Hills started slowly, getting only one runner to first base in the first inning, as leadoff hitter Brianna St. Clair drew a walk.

In the bottom of the first, Cedar second baseman Allie Meisner led off with a double to left, after which shortstop Dream Weaver struck out looking. Denim Henkel then walked, after which Pua Johnson went to a full count and fouled off several more pitches before finally singling down the third-base line, scoring Meisner. Kylie Oldroyd then followed with a single to center, bringing in Henkel. Amanda Cardon then reached first on a fielder’s choice, as Johnson was thrown out at third. Sage Oldroyd then belted a double to center, bringing in both her sister Kylie and Cardon, and giving the Lady Reds an early 4-0 lead.

Brianna St. Clair of Desert Hills prepares to bat against Cedar pitcher Bryton Holyoak, Cedar City, Utah, April 19, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In the top of the second, Desert Hills got its first run on the scoreboard when Abby Black, who’d beaten a throw to first for an infield single, later scored on Chelsea Pierce’s single to center that hit the fence on the fly. St. Clair then walked, loading up the bases for Katelyn Philips, who hit a hard liner down the first base line that Johnson caught for the third out.

Cedar scored another run in the bottom of the second, as leadoff hitter Abby Anderson was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Meisner then laid down a bunt to advance Anderson, but Meisner reached first safely on a throwing error that allowed both runners to advance one extra base. Dream Weaver then singled to left, scoring Anderson. However, Cedar’s next three batters all flew out, and no more runs scored. Cedar led 5-1 after two innings.

In the top of the third, Addi Betts reached first on an infielder’s error, then advanced to second on an overthrown ball. Tori Hinton, the next batter, then drilled a two-run home run over the center field fence. The next three Thunder batters all got out, leaving Desert Hills behind 5-3 after the top of the third.

Cedar was unable to score in the third, getting only one runner on base, when Cardon walked.

Pierce drilled another single to center with one out in the top of the fourth, after which St. Clair homered to left, tying the game 5-5. Cedar then switched pitchers, with left-hander Bryton Holyoak coming in to relieve starter Kenzie Waters.

Pua Johnson of Cedar hits one of her numerous foul balls during the game, Cedar City, Utah, April 19, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The first batter Holyoak faced was Philips, who popped out to first for the second out. The very next batter was Betts, who belted a home run to center that gave the Thunder a 6-5 lead.

Holyoak surrendered a single and a walk before striking out senior Morgynn Rosemeyer to end the inning.

Coach Weaver said Holyoak doesn’t usually see action as a relief pitcher but noted, “She needed that experience and she ended up doing great. When she came in, she gave up a home run, but after that she settled down.”

Cedar’s first two batters in the bottom of the fourth both grounded out, but Henkel then reached base on an infield single to short, after which Johnson followed with a single to left. Kylie Oldroyd then knocked a double to center, bringing in both runners and putting Cedar back in the lead, 7-6.

Desert Hills drew a blank in the top of the fifth frame. Olds reached base on an infield grounder, but the next three batters all got out, with Pierce lining out to second, St. Clair flying out to second, and Philips lining out to first.

Cedar saw similar offensive struggles in the fifth, getting only two fly outs and a ground out.

Cedar High softball team celebrates their 11-7 win over Desert Hills, Cedar City, Utah, April 19, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In the top of the sixth, leadoff hitter Betts drilled the first pitch over the center field fence for her second home run of the game, and tying the score 7-7. Hinton then reached base on an error, but Desert Hills’ next three batters all got out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Cedar’s Meisner was hit by St. Clair’s first pitch of the inning. Weaver then hit a fly ball to left field that was dropped, enabling her to reach first. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, after which Henkel hit a sacrifice grounder to second, scoring Meisner. Johnson then signled to left, scoring Weaver. Kylie Oldroyd then hit a two-run home run to cap off the Lady Reds’ scoring for the game.

Down 11-7 in the seventh, Desert Hills had one last chance to get back in the game, but St. Clair, who singled with two out, was the only runner to reach base in the seventh.

Both teams finished with a total of 10 hits apiece. Holyoak picked up the pitching win in relief, while St. Clair took the loss. Kylie Oldroyd went 3 for 4 from the plate and drove in five RBIs for Cedar, while Desert Hills’ Betts, St. Clair and Hinton all had two RBIs apiece. 

Cedar (now 9-0 in region play) has a week off, with no games scheduled until they face the Lady Falcons at Canyon View on Friday, Apr. 27.

Coach Weaver said after today’s and yesterday’s tough back-to-back wins, he’s giving his players some much-needed rest. “They’ll get to catch up on their homework and their sleep and then we’ll be back to practice on Monday,” he said.

Desert Hills’ next region game is Tuesday at home against Snow Canyon.

Region 9 standings (region, overall)

  1. Cedar 9-0, 15-5
  2. Desert Hills  7-2, 16-4
  3. Snow Canyon 6-3, 12-7
  4. Canyon View 3-3, 3-6
  5. Hurricane  2-5, 9-5
  6. Pine View  1-6, 6-11
  7. Dixie  0-8, 1-15

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