Spanish Fork • Beating the Manti softball team takes more than finding out how to beat pitcher Kali Thomson, who is 21-1 on the year. If you plan on topping the Templars, you have to keep them off base, and that’s proving to be a problem.
Every inning is a potential big inning.
After opening the state Class 2A tournament on Thursday morning with a 15-0 win over Kanab, Manti advanced to the quarterfinals later in the day with a 13-2, six-inning win over Emery.
“We’re a team that likes to put pressure on the defense. We’ve got some runners that are quick, so we felt like if we could put the ball in play we could score,” said Manti coach Susan Hatch. “I think our girls were a little nervous at first, but once they started to relax and play their game, they finally broke it open. Emery is an awesome team, we had to bring our ‘A’ game just to compete with them.”
Thomson struck out eight and gave up just four hits in her six innings of work. Amanda Naylor went 3 for 3 with home run and a pair of doubles and Elizabeth Palmer was 3 for 4 with a home run.
Manti led 2-0 early before Emery battled back to tie the game. The Spartans cut the lead in half with an RBI double from Ashton Bell in the third inning and tied the game with a solo home run from Makayla Clark in the fourth.
No worries. Naylor was just getting started. She hit a 2-run homer in the bottom half of the inning and then it was on.
Madison Blauer kept the momentum going in the fifth when she led off the inning with a bunt single. Palmer followed with a single and then Thomson helped her own cause. She hit a line drive that was too hot for Bell to handle on the pitcher’s mound. Bell managed to deflect the ball, but not before a run had scored.
The Templars scored another run compliments of an Emery error and a sacrifice fly from Ashlie Stevens that pushed the score to 7-2.
Manti put an exclamation point on the win when Stevens ended the game with a two-run homer.
The Templars play again on Friday at 2 p.m.
R Manti opens tournament play with wins of 15-0 and 13-2.
• In the Templars’ second game, against Emery, Amanda Naylor goes 3 for 3 with home run and a pair of doubles and Elizabeth Palmer is 3 for 4 with a homer.
Class 2A softball schedule
At Spanish Fork Softball Complex
Winners’ bracket semifinals
• Manti vs. Enterprise, 2 p.m.
• Gunnison vs. San Juan, 2 p.m.