4A softball: Bohling slams Salem Hills past Box Elder
Taylorsville • Kirtlyn Bohling could only chuckle in the on-deck circle as she watched the hitter before her intentionally walked to load the bases.
Perhaps only Bohling knew what was coming next.
With the game in extra innings and international tiebreaker rules in place, Bohling smashed a walk-off grand slam to propel Salem Hills to a 6-2 victory over Box Elder in a Class 4A winners bracket semifinal at the Valley Softball Complex on Tuesday.
"I knew it; that felt so good," Bohling said. "[Box Elder's coach] picked her poison on that. Either way it was going to get done. I trust my teammates that much. That was a good high to end on. I knew we had the heart."
The game was tied 2-2 after seven innings, which necessitated the international tiebreaker rule. That meant a runner is placed at second base to start each inning.
Box Elder came up empty in the top of the eighth due to some heads-up defense.
Salem Hills sophomore shortstop Abbie Tuttle fielded a grounder with a runner on second and one out, faked a throw to first and tagged out the lead runner. A popout ended the inning and set the stage for the outcome.
"I was never more excited," Bohling said about Tuttle's play.
Salem Hills' Tiffany Madson reached on a bunt single to start the bottom of the eighth before Tuttle was walked to load the bases.
Bohling ended it with her drive over the center field fence.
"I didn't know it would be a grand slam, but we were in the most perfect spot you could ask for," Skyhawks coach Renae Kinghorn said. "All I asked [Madson] was to put her bat on the ball and move the runner, but she slapped anyway. To walk a batter to get to our No. 4 hitter, who's competitive, was gutsy. She killed it."
Kinghorn said holding Box Elder scoreless in the eighth, thanks to Tuttle's quick thinking, was crucial to her team's comeback.
"[Tuttle] is so smart," said Kinghorn, whose team has won 13 consecutive games. "She's played this game for a long time. Box Elder is dangerous on the bases. That's how softball should be played."
The outcome was somewhat of a surprise considering Box Elder had lost only one game all season (to Bingham) and allowed the fewest runs in the state. The Bees (24-2) also accomplished something noteworthy they became the first team to score on Salem Hills in seven games when they pushed across a run in the second inning.
The lead held up until the fourth, when Alexis Oveson doubled home a run and another run scored on an error. Box Elder tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning on Molly Horne's double. Horne doubled twice and had three hits.
"Going into this game, I knew we'd have to beat them twice," Kinghorn said. "I believe we'll have to beat them again. If we just got past them today, then we'd be sitting pretty. To have their second loss come against us was great."
Both teams had sparkling defensive plays. Salem Hills catcher Kaylee Simons dived to catch a ball in foul territory, while Box Elder shortstop Karly Bunderson also dived to rob a Skyhawk hitter of a base hit.
Salem Hills (22-3) advanced to face Provo in Wednesday's 5:15 p.m. winners bracket final, while Box Elder will face Roy at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the losers bracket.
O At Valley Softball Complex
5:15 p.m. • Salem Hills vs. Provo
3 p.m. • Roy vs.Box Elder
3 p.m. • Bonneville vs. Mountain Crest