Cedar, Desert Hills remain in hunt for 4A softball title after walk-off wins

Cedar's Denim Henkel hits a home run during the fifth inning against Spanish Fork, 4A state softball tournament, Spanish Fork, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Weaver, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — At the 4A state softball tournament in Spanish Fork Thursday, Region 9 champion Cedar High stayed undefeated in postseason play with a dramatic 2-1 quarterfinal win over defending state champion Spanish Fork.

Cedar pitcher Bryton Holyoak winds up vs. Spanish Fork during the 4A state softball tournament, Spanish Fork, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Weaver, St. George News

The defensive battle went scoreless for four innings until each team tallied a run in the fifth, with Cedar’s Denim Henkel hitting a solo home run to even the score. Neither team scored again until Cedar came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Cedar’s Shaun Bauman led off the final inning by reaching first base on an infield error. A few batters later, the bases were loaded with two outs and the game-winning run at third base.

Cedar’s Pua Johnson, who’d popped out in three previous at-bats, then hit a hard grounder up the middle that Spanish Fork’s shortstop managed to field. She then raced to second base in hopes of beating Henkel to the bag. Henkel was called safe on the play, so pinch runner Kelsi Oldroyd was able to score from third and end the game.

Cedar pitcher Bryton Holyoak went the distance for the win, scattering five hits while walking three and striking out two batters.

“She was flawless,” Cedar head coach Chris Weaver said of Holyoak’s pitching effort.

The Lady Reds will next face Region 12 champion Bear River Friday at noon as the 4A state tournament continues at the Spanish Fork Complex. Bear River defeated Tooele 8-4 in the other quarterfinal matchup Thursday afternoon. The winner of the Cedar-Bear River matchup advances to Saturday’s championship game.

Meanwhile, in the double-elimination tournament’s one-loss bracket, Desert Hills, Region 9’s No. 2 seed, won both of its games Thursday to remain in contention.

Cedar’s Pua Johnson gets the game-winning hit in a 2-1 win over Spanish Fork during the 4A state softball tournament, Spanish Fork, Utah, May 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Weaver, St. George News

Desert Hills 12, Orem 6
Desert Hills 6, Uintah 5

Desert Hills jumped out to an 8-1 lead after two innings vs. Orem and held on to eliminate the Tigers. The Lady Thunder belted 14 hits during the game, including home runs by Kylee Christensen and Addi Betts. Betts finished 3 for 3 at the plate, with two runs scored and three RBIs.

Immediately after the victory over Orem ended, the Lady Thunder had to face Uintah. In that closely fought contest, the Lady Utes scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. However, in the bottom of the seventh Desert Hills’ Brianna St. Clair doubled, after which Betts drilled a game-winning walk-off homer to give the Lady Thunder a dramatic 6-5 victory.

St. Clair picked up both pitching victories for Desert Hills, which next plays Spanish Fork at 10 a.m. Friday. The top-ranked Lady Dons, Region 10’s No. 1 seed, lost to Cedar Thursday, 2-1.

Ridgeline 4, Snow Canyon 1

Snow Canyon, Region 9’s No. 3 seed, lost to Ridgeline 4-1 in the lower bracket Thursday, ending the Lady Warriors’ hopes of advancing in the playoffs.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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