Trailing by five runs with only three outs left and seeing a potentially special season start to slip away, the Canyon View Falcons weren’t about to fold up and wilt in the 90-degree heat.
In an inning that left a lot of fans watching at the Little Valley Fields in stunned disbelief, the Falcons found a way to stage a rally that won’t be forgotten anytime soon around campus.
Cheyenne Anderson reached on a error that pushed across the go-ahead run, and Kenzii Redd’s RBI single added insurance as the Falcons scored seven runs in the top of the seventh and rallied to stun Spanish Fork 8-6 on Thursday in the 3A state softball quarterfinals.
It was the kind of once-in-a-lifetime rally that left everyone involved nearly speechless. Well, almost.
Throw in a side of giddiness.
“We know we’re a good team, but when we got to the dugout (for the seventh inning), we were like ‘oh, crap. We’re down by a couple of runs,'” said senior shortstop Jaycee Slack, who belted a game-tying double to the center-field fence as part of the rally. “We knew we had to hit, but once we got going we were like ‘oh, yeah. This is us.'”
The Dons, who had a 12-game winning streak snapped, looked like they were in cruise control as they scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 6-1 lead, but the Falcons had plenty of fight left in them.
By the time the damage was done, Canyon View sent 12 batters to the plate and were helped by key hits from pitcher Josie Platt (two-run single) and first baseman Savannah Eckhardt (RBI single).
“We weren’t quite on top of our game,” Slack said. “We were still playing great, but we got together and pulled it out.”
After Redd delivered the hit that gave the Falcons a valuable two-run cushion, the senior knew she and her teammates still had a lot of work left to do.
“It was definitely a really intense win,” Redd said. “I’m glad for the girls and this feels amazing. …. As long as we stay up and know we’re a great team and know what (a win) feels like, there’s no question we’re going to do amazing.”
And amazing was capped off in ideal fashion for the Falcons with Platt in the circle to finish the pitching job. Three up, three down — a ground ball to third, a ground ball that Platt handled cleanly and a popup.
In the end, the rally left Falcons coach Kyle Delange wondering if it was all only a dream — which it wasn’t, as shown by the smile on his face.
“It’s exciting, and being down 6-1 against (Spanish Fork), you bet. That’s big,” Delange said. “I was wondering when our bats were going to show up, and they showed up in the seventh. It was just enough.”
Spanish Fork left 10 runners stranded on base, including the bases loaded in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
While the Falcons celebrated their 10th straight win and looked forward to a looming semifinal showdown against three-time defending 3A champion Bear River today, the Dons nearly let their elimination game get away in identical fashion.
Juab was able to rally for two runs in the top of the seventh to force extras, but Spanish Fork came through with a bloop single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth for a 6-5 win to stay alive.
SNOW CANYON 10, PAYSON 0, 5 INN: The Warriors didn’t fall behind early against the Lions, putting up five runs in the first and five more in the third to back the pitching of Brytni Gurney, who scattered four hits.
Shelbee Hutchings and Sonya Hardy hit RBI doubles in the win as Snow Canyon remained perfect on the season at 22-0. Autumn Shipp played her first full game of the season in the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the Warriors, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Snow Canyon will face Stansbury, a 9-0 winner over Uintah, today in one of the semfinal games at 10 a.m.
PINE VIEW 5, PAYSON 0: Kirsten Anderson threw a no-hitter and Keltee Shelley belted a three-run homer in the fifth inning to help the Panthers eliminate the Lions and stay alive in the one-loss bracket.
Anderson struck out four and walked two.
Pine View will play Uintah in another elimination game today at 10 a.m. The Utes stayed alive in dramatic fashion with a 10-9 victory over Grantsville as Tanika Merkley led off the bottom of the seventh inning with the game-winning home run.