For the second straight game, the Cedar softball team struggled at the start and fell behind early.
Marinn Whitney made sure history didn’t repeat itself, as the Lady Reds picked up a valuable victory Wednesday afternoon at Tom Cardon Field.
Whitney went the distance in the circle, allowing only two runs, and drove in a run with a single in Cedar’s three-run fourth inning as the Lady Reds went on to beat Desert Hills, 5-2.
Cedar shook off Tuesday’s loss to Canyon View and improved to 6-2 in Region 9 play, keeping pace with the front-running Falcons, as well as Snow Canyon, with one game in hand.
“We couldn’t seem to string together a bunch of hits, but we got the job done,” Cedar head coach Dave Carter said. “Every time they came in (to the dugout), we’d say, ‘Let’s match their runs and then some.'”
When they needed them the most, that’s exactly what the Lady Reds did.
Desert Hills (3-5 Region 9) struck first with a run without benefit of a hit before Cedar even had its first at-bat. Leadoff hitter Kirsti Ivie scored on a sacrifice fly to help the Thunder take the early 1-0 lead.
The score would stay that way until the fourth, as the Lady Reds took advantage of shaky defense to go with RBI singles from Whitney and Brecklee Lunt to take a 3-1 lead.
But the battle was just getting started.
“We knew we needed to get better,” Whitney said. “I needed to throw hard, and we had awesome defense. Everyone was backing me up, and it helped me relax.”
Cedar extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth when Javlyn Weaver belted a solo homer with two out off Desert Hills starter Kodi Barlow, but the Thunder responded with a run in the top of the sixth.
With one out, Katrina Laninovich and Corrin Grantham singled to put two runners on. Lexi Hamlin then hit into a fielder’s choice, but a throwing error allowed a run to score. Hamlin was thrown out trying to get to second base on the play to end the threat.
The Lady Reds responded with a run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double from Sadie Leavitt to restore a three-run lead. From there, Whitney left a runner stranded at third and got the final three outs to secure the win.
Cedar had only seven hits on the day, but was aided by four Desert Hills errors.
With only two weeks and four games remaining in the race for the Region 9 title, and hosting rights for the first-round pod in the 3A state playoffs, Carter knows what’s at stake.
“We have to win out,” Carter said. “If the girls score runs and play defense, we can be right in the race.”