Backspin sure can be a beautiful thing sometimes. For the Bonneville Lakers, one of those times was the third inning of their Class 4A state softball tournament game against defending champ Salem Hills.
Two fortunate spins proved to be the difference as the Lakers nipped the Skyhawks 1-0 at the Valley Softball Complex on Tuesday.
Bonneville (24-3) will now face Spanish Fork at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday in a battle of the only unbeaten squads in the double-elimination tourney.
“We sat down yesterday and I told the girls, ‘You teams are going to make mistakes. It’s our job to capitalize on them,’ ” Bonneville coach Brenda Hart said. “That’s exactly what we did today.”
The Lakers had little luck against Salem Hills’ hurler Kirtlyn Bohling in the first two innings, going out in order. In the third, things looked the same as Bohling fanned the first two batters.
But Bonneville No. 9 hitter Brindi Jenkins barely got her bat on the ball, which then bounced sharply back to Skyhawks’ catcher Amelia Weight. Hitting Weight in fair territory, the ball then spun into foul ground and Jenkins scrambled to first on the infield hit.
Later in the inning, the two-out rally continued when Bonneville’s Nicole Gross hit a very similar spinner in front of the plate. This time, Weight fielded the ball cleanly but Jenkins, who was at third by this time, slid home before the tag.
The one crucial single in the inning, the only well-hit ball, came from Courtney Porter to push Jenkins over to third.
“They’re weird ones. I’ve never seen two in one game before,” said Porter of the other two hits.
“I was just looking to move her over. I knew she was going to pitch me outside,” added the left-handed batter, who swatted the ball cleanly the opposite way.
Salem Hills (19-8-1), which got eight strikeouts from Bohling, will now have to work its way through the bracket of one-loss teams if it hopes to repeat. Bonneville, meanwhile, will look for more sterling efforts from pitcher Andrea Hancock in its draw.
Hancock fanned 11 Skyhawks’ batters in her shutout and worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. With one out, Hancock struck out one hitter and then induced the next — on a 3-and-1 count — to hit a soft grounder back to her.
“My adrenaline was definitely through the roof,” Hancock said. “We knew we were going to have to play a heck of a good game to compete.”
Winners’ bracket semifinals
• Spanish Fork 6, Maple Mountain 2
• Bonneville 1, Salem Hills 0
At Valley Softball Complex
Winners’ bracket final
• Spanish Fork vs. Bonneville, 5:15 p.m.
Losers’ bracket final
• Teams TBA, 2:30 p.m.
At Valley Softball Complex
• Teams TBA, 5 p.m.
O Bonneville’s Andrea Hancock and Salem Hills’ Kirtlyn Bohling combine for 19 strikeouts in the pitcher’s duel.
• Defending 4A champ Salem Hills will play Olympus at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the double-elimination tournament as it attempts to keep its hopes of a repeat alive.