Snow Canyon couldn’t have started the postseason in a better way.
The Warriors were already hosting a regional site, after winning Region 9 with a 10-2 record. That gave Snow Canyon the opportunity to enjoy home cooking, and the Warriors’ aggressiveness and experience made the difference in a dominating 19-0 win over Morgan in the opening round of the 3A tournament Saturday.
The Warriors scored nine runs in the first inning alone, and took advantage of numerous errors by the Trojans by timely hitting and forcing Morgan pitcher Hannah Butikofer into deep counts. The game was eventually called after three innings because of the postseason mercy rule.
Snow Canyon coach Tracee Heaton said her team’s focus at the plate was impressive.
“It was good that we came out that way,” she said. “Starting state, you never know what their emotions are going to be like and if they’ll play tight or not. But, they came out and were relaxed and hit the ball. We’d struggled in the past going up and down, and today we didn’t.”
The scoring in the first inning was early and often for the Warriors. Madison Mooring, Nikenna Durante and Sonya Hardy all scored runs, and then a series of fielding errors overcame the Trojans. Both Skyler Gates and Camryn Johnson reached on errors, and scored later on a fielding error by Morgan first baseman Sierra Southwick. That gave Snow Canyon a 5-0 lead, before they scored two more runs on errors and a pair on a Hardy triple.
The offensive barrage didn’t stop after the first inning, as the first seven batters reached safely for the Warriors in the second inning. Gates and Johnson led off the inning with doubles, and Katlyn Flowers contributed an RBI single. Also, Smith and Mooring had RBI singles in the inning, giving the Warriors a 19-0 lead after two innings.
The offensive marks in the game were impressive. For instance, Gates went two-for-two — in the second inning. Also, 14 Snow Canyon hitters came to the plate in the second.
Gates, who reached base in each of her three plate appearances, said good preparation contributed to the team’s offensive success.
“All week, we’ve been just trying to focus,” she said. “We really need to get our minds here, and not anywhere else. It was just a good game. All of us were focused and got good rest, good sleep. All of us came ready to play.”
It wasn’t all offense, though, as Snow Canyon pitcher Heather Prestwich struck out seven of the nine batters she faced.
Gates, who has caught Prestwich since they were in elementary school, said they had a chemistry.
“We’ve always had that chemistry and bond,” Gates said. “I know what she needs at certain times, and she knows what I need at certain times. She carries us on our back, so she’s awesome. We are so lucky to have her.”
The win allows Snow Canyon to advance to the winner’s bracket in the 3A tournament, where they’ll face two-time defending champ Stansbury on Thursday.
Mooring, who scored three runs in the game, said the victory over Morgan was a statement win for the program.
“I think it gives us a good reputation here because the last couple years when we’ve gone to the playoffs, we got beat out and shut out,” she said. “We made a statement that we’re not going to go away easy, we’re going to come to the Stansbury game prepared. We’re going to prepare all week for them, and get another win.”