In 153 innings of softball prior to Friday, the Snow Canyon Warriors played from behind in 13 of them while building a 22-0 record.
In the space of 10 innings and two games at the 3A state playoffs at the Little Valley fields, a dream season came crashing down faster than a house of cards in a wind-whipped frenzy, sending the Warriors to a stunning early exit without so much as a shot at the championship trophy.
Stansbury got home runs from Karlee Manzione and Lindsay Guymon to build a big early lead, and they didn’t let up in a 16-0 rout over Snow Canyon in just four innings in the opener. The Warriors were held to two hits and committed six errors as the Stallions cruised behind pitcher Kimbri Herring, who struck out nine and walked two.
Things didn’t get better for Snow Canyon in the elimination game. After falling behind early against Spanish Fork and making a game of it late, the Warriors were buried with a nine-run sixth inning and were sent packing in six innings, 16-6.
“Spanish Fork is a good hitting team. Honestly, today just wasn’t our day,” said Snow Canyon coach Brandyn Sargent. “We made errors and we were off everywhere. Against Stansbury, we were off completely. We made more errors in that game than we have all season.
“It was bound to happen. We had a great season — 22-2 is a really good record.”
Stansbury then beat Bear River 6-2 in the nightcap to secure a spot in today’s noon final. Bear River will play Spanish Fork at 9:30 a.m. for the right to face Stallions. The winner would have to beat Stansbury twice to claim the title.
But when the two in the loss column came in the time of the season that mattered most, it left a feeling of uncertainty and emptiness afterward.
The telling sequence may have come against the Dons, who eliminated the Warriors for the second year in a row. Dani Perkins and Brooke Davis belted two-run homers off Brytni Gurney — who allowed four in total in the two games — to stake Spanish Fork to an early 4-1 lead, but Snow Canyon clawed back with four runs in the fifth to close within 7-6.
That’s when Spanish Fork took a wrecking ball to the Warriors’ momentum in an avalanche of base hits. The Dons scored all of its nine runs in the sixth after two were out, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from Mariah Peterson and an error that helped preserve the inning.
And after allowing 33 runs in 15 games prior to Friday — a stretch covering 59 days and dating back to the Region 9 opener against Pine View on March 19 — Snow Canyon gave up 32 runs — including four home runs — in the span of four hours.
“We didn’t really play like we know how,” said McKenzee Langston, one of four Warrior seniors, who went 1-for-5 in her final games. “In the first game, we were nervous or scared and just didn’t know. In (the second) game, we fought, but they were hitting the ball where it was pitched.”
The rest of the Region 9 teams remaining in the tournament — Canyon View and Pine View — were also eliminated Friday. In the final championship bracket game, Stansbury got a grand slam from Jocelyn Kaufman in defeating five-time defending champion Bear River. For the first time in its run, the Bears will have to win three games to claim a sixth straight 3A championship.
BEAR RIVER 3, CANYON VIEW 0: Southern Utah-bound pitcher Jordan Theurer threw a five-hit shutout and hit an RBI single in a two-run fourth inning that helped the Bears advance in the championship bracket.
PINE VIEW 8, UINTAH 4: The Panthers scored seven runs in the sixth to wipe out a 4-1 deficit and eliminate the Utes in its first game of the day. Kayla Hammond homered to highlight the big rally.
PINE VIEW 8, CANYON VIEW 5: Keltee Shelley belted two home runs and drove in five runs, and the Panthers held off a late-inning rally to eliminate the Falcons.
After being held hitless by pitcher Kirsten Andersen until Kenzie Sawyer doubled with two out in the fourth, Pine View had to sweat down the stretch as Canyon View nearly rallied from an 8-0 deficit.
The Falcons scored three times in the sixth and added two more in the seventh. With runners at second and third, Jaycee Slack — who represented the potential tying run — sent a line drive toward the left-field corner that Shelley made a great running catch on near the foul line for the final out.
SPANISH FORK 11, PINE VIEW 0, 6 INN.: An error allowed the Dons to score four runs in the third inning, and they poured it on from there to eliminate the Panthers. Kaylee Bott had an RBI double for Spanish Fork.