The Taylorsville Warriors may not have hit as well as they usually do, but they got a clutch hit from senior left fielder Aaliyah Valenzuela — and that was enough to push Taylorsville by Layton, 2-1.
Valenzuela’s chance to make a difference came early, in the bottom of the first inning. She stepped into the batters’ box with runners on first and second with two outs. Valenzuela promptly turned on an 0-2 pitch and drilled the ball into the left-centerfield gap. Both runners scored to give Taylorsville a 2-0 lead. That was all the scoring the team would need.
“I went in there with the mindset that my team had all the confidence in the world in me, and I tried not to stress myself out,” Valenzuela said. “I actually didn’t have any worry in the world. I just knew that when I hit it, it was gonna go.”
With freshman pitcher Jaycie Lebaron on the mound, Taylorsville’s two-run lead might as well have been 10. Lebaron did allow one run in the second inning, but she held Layton scoreless after.
She found herself in a little trouble in the sixth inning, when she allowed Layton lead-off hitter Lauryn Kirschner to reach first base. Lebaron then gave up a double to Layton sophomore center fielder Raena Gall. That would have given the Lancers runners on second and third with no outs, but Kirschner overran third base and Taylorsville third baseman Shaelee Pearson tagged her out. Lebaron then got the next two batters to ground out to end the Lancers’ only scoring threat.
“For a freshman to come into a state game and hold them to one run was amazing,” Taylorsville coach Richard Kaelin said.
Behind Lebaron’s arm, the Warriors have now won nine straight games.
In other 5A games
Bingham 7, Davis 0 • Bingham used a six-run third inning to kill any chance Davis had of winning. The Miners will face Taylorsville on Tuesday for the right to advance to the winner’s bracket final.
Weber 2, Riverton 1 • Weber junior pitcher McKenna Bull improved to 21-1 on the season by holding Riverton to one run. Weber trailed after five innings, but it scored one run in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to advance.
Copper Hills 6, Viewmont 5 • Copper Hills trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Grizzlies scored two runs to earn the walk-off win. Junior Ashley Clayson and senior Amanda Cook each belted a home run for Copper Hills.
Brighton 13, West 3 • The Bengals punished West pitching early, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings. Brighton will try to stay alive when it takes on Viewmont on Tuesday.
Alta 5, Lone Peak 1 • Alta took advantage of four Lone Peak errors to stay alive in the state tournament. The Hawks’ senior hurler Ashley Kay allowed just one run on two hits.
Hunter 5, West Jordan 1 • The Wolverines sailed by West Jordan to stave off elimination. Hunter will try to make it two in a row when it matches up against Layton on Tuesday.
Fremont 14, Lehi 6 • The Fremont bats came alive, scoring 14 runs to eliminate Lehi. Fremont will try to stay hot at the plate when it takes on Davis on Tuesday.