Snow Canyon softball followed up their stellar non-region performance with a blistering start in Region 9 action. And on Wednesday evening, it was more of the same.
The Warriors secured their 11th straight win after defeating region foe, Cedar, 5-2.
Ace Brytni Gurney struck out eight, and allowed just two runs on seven hits to secure the victory. Kenzee Langston provided the power with two home runs and four RBI. Together, the Warriors stay atop the region with a 4-0 mark (11-0 overall).
“Cedar is a good team, and we needed to show up with our ‘A game’. … We had to jump on the board in the first inning and not slow down. We have been really struggling with getting going (early),” Warriors coach Brandyn Sargent said.
Jordan Larson led Cedar with an RBI double in the fourth. Although seven different hitters tallied a hit against Gurney, Cedar (2-1 region, 4-3 overall) couldn’t capitalize with runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Jessica Nakken (two strikeouts) pitched well for the most part, but an unforgiving third inning appointed her the loss in the circle.
With seven region games left, Cedar now turns its attention to the future.
“We are going to need to score a lot of runs and play tight defense to compete in this tough region,” Carter said. “I feel that any team on any given day can win in this region. … We have seven returning seniors this year, and we’re expecting a lot out of them. Five of those players hit over .400 last year.”
On Wednesday, however, Gurney demonstrated why she could be in contention for a region MVP nod.
The big right-hander cooled down relatively fiery situations, such as in the fourth inning.
Cedar trailed 5-1 and, in desperate need to rally, put a runner on third with just one out. Yet, just as she’s done many times this season, Gurney struck out consecutive batters (Breanna Williams, Lisa Ballenger) to end the inning. In the sixth, Cedar had cut the deficit to 5-2 and had runners on second and third, but Gurney forced a groundout to end the inning.
“Brytni has the determination and drive that any coach wants in a player. She not only leads us in the circle, but she is a team leader,” Sargent said. “People look up to her, so having Brytni around is great for us. I couldn’t be happier with her pitching performances so far.”
With a pitcher like Gurney, it also puts the Warriors defense to work too.
“Our defense is doing great. We have Mitzi Gates at catcher, and she and Brytni are completely in sync. Mitzi knows what Brytni likes to throw and how to get her going or calm her down,” Sargent said. “They set the tone out there.”
Sargent added shortstop Grace Walton is another key piece in the field, adding the junior keeps the team in games by her situational awareness.
In the third, Snow Canyon led 2-0 and was again threatening with runners on second and third. The Warriors were down to their last out of the inning, but Langston came up huge with a line-drive home run to right center off of Nakken.
That would ultimately be all the run support Gurney and Co., would need for the rest of the outing.
PINE VIEW 7, DESERT HILLS 3: Kirsten Anderson had seven strikeouts in the Panthers victory over the Thunder.
The 5-foot-6 senior also hit three doubles, sharing top marks with Kayla Hammon who chipped in with a triple. Both players went 4 for 4 at the plate.
Brandi Jarvis notched a home run for the Thunder, who have amassed just a single win so far this season.
Pine View improves to a stellar 10-1 overall, 3-1 in region.
CANYON VIEW 8, HURRICANE 4: The Falcons jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never fell behind in their win over the Tigers.
Josie Platt secured the win on the mound and also collected three hits — two doubles and a single.
Sierra Mays hit a three run homer in the bottom of the fourth for the Tigers, igniting a brief run. But Canyon View scored two more runs in the top of the seventh and then held on defensively the rest of the way.