Salem • For a few innings, it appeared that Salem Hills was about to cruise to an easy victory over its biggest Region 8 rival.
Then the Skyhawks made it a little tougher on themselves.
Prep softball Salem Hills 6, Maple Mtn. 5The Skyhawks claim revenge for an earlier loss to the top team in Region 8.
Salem Hills had to overcome a late-inning hiccup and five errors Thursday but was able to ride out a 6-5 win against Maple Mountain that gives it the inside track to a region championship. Now on a seven-game winning streak, the Skyhawks appear to be one of the top contenders for a Class 4A state title.
"It might be that it was Senior Day, or it could be just one of those tight games like that," center fielder Jerika Durfey said. "The pressure did get to us a little bit."
That didn’t appear to be the case early as the Skyhawks teed off on Golden Eagles starter Whitney Roberts. A four-run third inning broke the game open as Courtney Moody, Brooke Ford, Lexi Parker and Kenzie Mecham all scored before Maple Mountain could even notch its second out.
To combat hot-hitting Salem Hills, the Golden Eagles yanked Roberts from the circle, but reinserted her in the game in the fifth inning. The Skyhawks still managed three hits in the last two innings, but didn’t score again after the fourth.
Defensively, Salem Hills had its own problems to deal with. Moody had a solid start, allowing five hits through five innings while surrendering two in the fourth. But the lead began evaporating in the sixth as errors extended Maple Mountain’s rally. Moody faced six batters before even giving up her first hit of the inning, and the Golden Eagles ran the bases aggressively, forcing the Skyhawks to make difficult decisions under pressure.
"It’s not typical for us to make that many mistakes," coach Renae Clarke said. "My hat goes off to Maple Mountain for making us have to make some plays, and we didn’t do it."
Kirtlyn Bohling came in relief for Moody to wrap up the inning, then struck out two in the seventh and caught a line drive to close out the Golden Eagles.
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