Spanish Fork • With the bases suddenly loaded and the tying run on base Friday in the Class 3A softball winners’ bracket final, Stansbury pitcher Kimbri Herring got exactly what she wanted.
On a 1-1 pitch, Uintah’s Kylie Smuin lofted a towering fly ball to center field, which senior Janessa Bassett caught to preserve the Stallions’ 7-4 victory.
“She never misses,” Herring said.
With the wire-to-wire win, Stansbury remained the only unbeaten team in the double-elimination tournament.
Herring, a junior, scattered seven hits. Offensively, she drove in two runs in the second inning, when the Stallions jumped to a 4-0 lead.
“That helps so much,” Herring said. “When my teams get runs like that, it’s so helpful. You have room to make mistakes. You don’t want to, but it’s awesome.”
Asked about Herring’s performance, Stansbury coach Bridget Clinton said, “She’s been our horse all year. She works very hard and [we] got her some runs today.”
With the victory, the Stallions’ record improved to 19-6. After dropping three of their first four games this season, they have won 18 of their last 21.
By beating Uintah, Stansbury into position to claim the state championship Saturday. The Stallions meet the winner of the day’s first game between the Utes and Canyon View. If they lose the 12:30 p.m. contest, another game will follow.
“I’m super-excited,” Herring said. “My team has been amazing. … I’m just so excited because I think we have potential.”
Stansbury led all the way against the Utes after scoring four times in the second inning.
With two out, senior Beth Chipman’s RBI single made it 1-0. Sophomore Anjalee Batchelor followed with a run-scoring single to center before Herring knocked in another pair of runs with a base hit.
In the fourth, Uintah freshman Summer Stensgard got the first hit off Herring — a leadoff homer that made it 4-1.
After the Utes scored again, however, Stansbury quickly countered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
With the bases loaded, Uintah relief pitcher Sami Petty unleashed a wild pitch. Two runners raced home, bumping the Stallions’ lead to 6-2.
It was 7-4 in the top of the seventh, when Herring routinely retired the first two batters. But Uintah stayed alive on Jayden Lance’s single and, when Herring hit back-to-back batters with a pitch, the Utes loaded the bases.
“We always make them exciting,” Clinton said. “We’re used to it.”
Representing the possible winning run, however, Smuin popped a rising fastball to Bassett for the final out.
“It got a little exciting,” Herring said.
R Kimbri Herring pitches out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to preserve Stansbury’s 7-4 win over Uintah.
• The Stallions earn a title berth in the double-elimination tournament against Saturday’s Uintah /Canyon View winner.
Class 3A softball
At Spanish Fork Softball Complex
Winners’ bracket final
• Stansbury 7, Uintah 4
Losers’ bracket final
• Uintah vs. Canyon View, 10 a.m.
• Stansbury vs. Uintah/Canyon View winner, 12:30 p.m.
• Rematch (if necessary), 15 minutes after conclusion of first game