Dramatic win puts Snow Canyon on verge of Junior League World Series

Tavie Landis slides safely into home in the top of the seventh, putting Snow Canyon ahead 4-2 in a regional softball tournament victory over Eastlake, Wash., in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Tara Landis, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Snow Canyon Little League all-star softball team came from behind in the final inning to defeat Eastlake of Sammamish, Washington 4-2 Tuesday night at the Western Regional Junior League Tournament in Tucson, Arizona.

The dramatic victory moves the Utah state champions into Thursday’s regional finals and one win away from qualifying for the Junior League World Series.

Snow Canyon coach Jeremy Mooring gives players instructions during a timeout in the top of the seventh inning during the Utah team’s regional softball tournament victory over Eastlake, Wash., in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Tara Landis, St. George News

Trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the seventh, the Utah team loaded up the bases with one out, thanks to singles by Ginny Deming and Jenna Thorkelson, followed by a walk to Addison Lacayo.

Utah’s McKenna Staheli then belted a line drive to right-center field that scored both Deming and Thorkelson, with pinch runner Tavie Landis advancing to third as Staheli wound up on second.

Ahead 3-2, Snow Canyon picked up one more insurance run when Jael Wilde hit a fly ball to center, scoring Landis, who tagged up and beat the throw home with a well-executed slide.

In the bottom of the seventh, Thorkelson sealed the win for Utah with a strikeout and two groundouts. Thorkelson pitched all seven innings, scattering eight hits and striking out 10 batters.

“It was another exciting close game where two great teams battled back and forth,” Snow Canyon head coach Jeremy Mooring said. “I challenged the girls to believe in themselves and not quit. These girls responded and never gave up. They are a fun bunch of girls to coach. “

Eastlake scored first, getting one run on a two-out single in the second inning to pull ahead 1-0.

Snow Canyon’s Tyler Mooring hits the ball during the Utah team’s regional softball tournament victory over Eastlake, Wash., in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of SJ Miller, St. George News

Utah answered with a run in the top of the third inning as Deming, who’d singled and advanced on a single by Thorkelson, came in and scored on a fielder’s choice play when Staheli grounded out. That evened the score 1-1.

Neither team scored again until the bottom of the sixth, when Eastlake, with runners on first and second with two out, hit an outfield single. Umpires called Snow Canyon for obstruction on the play, resulting in the leading runner scoring. That put Eastlake ahead 2-1 heading into the seventh and final inning.

The loss drops Eastlake into the one-loss bracket of the double-elimination tournament. They’ll face Alaska Wednesday night for a chance at a rematch with Snow Canyon in Thursday’s final.

Snow Canyon will face the Alaska-Washington winner at 5 p.m. Thursday. Should the Utah team lose that game, the same two teams will play again at 7:30 p.m. for the West Region championship. If Snow Canyon wins either game, they’ll advance to the Junior League World Series, scheduled to be held in Kirkland, Washington, July 29-Aug. 4.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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