2A softball: Manti claws back to title game
St. George • Brittan Johnson didn't have time to dwell on her mistakes. She was already looking for redemption.
Her Manti teammates needed her: With two outs and the game tied in the bottom of the sixth, the Templars needed an edge against Enterprise.
"It was pretty intense," Johnson said, eyes wide as she revisited the moment. "I couldn't get out. I definitely was feeling the pressure."
Johnson sent a ball bouncing in the infield, but the Wolves couldn't handle her chopper as two Manti runners scored, eventually giving the team a 6-4 win Friday evening in the 2A softball semifinals. The Templars held off Enterprise to get back to the title game for the first time since 2009.
Manti crowded around each other, the players tossing their gloves in the air. But coach Susan Hatch was quick to rein them in. The final challenge is Saturday afternoon at Canyons Softball Complex.
"We still have another game to play, and it's going to be tough," Hatch said. "I'd like to see us be a little more disciplined on defense. We got a little excited today."
The Templars appeared to be brimming with nerves after asserting a 4-1 lead by the top of the sixth on a hot start by pitcher Kali Thomson. But Thomson, making her second appearance of the day, began to tire late, and opposing starter Dakota Robinson took advantage.
Robinson sent a shot to the outfield that scored teammates Summer Terry and Taylor Phelps. She then scored on a subsequent hit by Madison Holmes, tying the game at four.
Johnson made a few mistakes during the game she felt made it close all the better that she had a chance to make up for it.
"It's a good feeling," she said.
Lizzy Palmer came in relief in the seventh, retiring all three batters she faced and striking out two.
Palmer also helped get the game going in the first with a two-run homer that game Manti a 2-0 lead. The Templars tacked on runs in the third and fifth, while Thomson held the Wolves scoreless for the first four innings of play.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Enterprise will play San Juan in an attempt to earn a rematch with Manti for the championship. The Wolves knocked the Broncos out of the winners' bracket in a 6-3 win earlier in the day.
Class 2A softball championship
At Canyons Softball Complex, St. George
Semifinal • Enterprise vs. San Juan, Saturday, 10 a.m.
Final • Manti vs. Enterprise/San Juan winner, Saturday, 12:15 p.m.
San Juan 13, Millard 1 • The Broncos romped in the final game of the day, taking an early lead against the worn-down Eagles. Junita Royer and Justin Hutchins each homered.
San Juan 11, South Summit 8 • The Broncos held off a late surge by the Wildcats to advance to the consolation quarterfinals. Juanita Royer doubled twice for San Juan.
Millard 3, Gunnison 2 • Megan Deardon helped pitch the Eagles to victory, holding the Bulldogs scoreless for the first six innings of play. Millard only managed four hits itself but took advantage of Gunnison errors.