Taylorsville » On a day Bear River put itself in position to win an unprecedented fifth straight Class 3A softball championship, it was hard to find surprises.
But in the seventh inning of the Bears’ 13-3 semifinal win over Snow Canyon at the Valley Complex, it happened.
Class 3A softball championship
Bear River vs. Spanish Fork
Monday, 2 p.m. at Salt Lake Community College
Second game immediately after if Spanish Fork wins
Ensuring the assured, centerfielder Morgan Summers hit a grand slam home run to cap an eight-run seventh inning to put the game out of reach for Snow Canyon. It was the speedy senior leadoff hitter’s third home run of the season, but the first to clear the outfield fence.
"Everybody was just wide-eyed, deer in the headlights," Bear River pitcher Jordan Theurer said. "’Did that just happen?’ And everybody just went ballistic. We knew Morgan had power but watching her do it in person was great."
Summers said she was just following the advice given to her by coach Calvin Bingham before the at-bat.
"I asked him, ‘Coach, am I going to hit away?" Summers remembered. "And he said, ‘Just hit the crap out of it.’"
Bear River, which tied a state record in 2011 with its fourth-straight championship, will play Spanish Fork on Monday at 2 p.m. for the 3A championship, the game pushed beyond the weekend due to Friday rainouts.
It will be a rematch of Saturday morning’s quarterfinal, which the Bears won 6-5 in 10 innings against the Dons. Spanish Fork won the Class 4A championship in 2011 before being realigned to 3A.
Summers said the quarterfinal win over the Dons, which came thanks to two runs in the top of the 10th inning by the Bears, felt like a state championship game "because it was emotional, it was crazy."
Spanish Fork had to play and win three games after losing to the Bears to force Monday’s rematch, which Bingham said will feature the state’s two best teams.
Theurer, who hit a home run against Spanish Fork and a double against Snow Canyon, said she was excited for the rematch.
"They’re going to probably want to come get us," she said, "but I’m just excited for a hard-fought battle again."
Spanish Fork 17, Snow Canyon 0 » The story of the Dons’ day wasn’t their 17-0 semifinal win over Snow Canyon in four innings in the other Class 3A semifinal.
It was nine straight hours of softball: four games, 52 runs and three wins, all for another shot at Bear River.
Spanish Fork, which won last year’s 4A championship by way of the consolation bracket, recovered from the loss to the Bears to beat Stansbury 11-1, Wasatch 19-2 and, in the capper, Snow Canyon.
"It was draining," said pitcher Kailey Christensen, who started all four games. "Before we started our game versus Wasatch I felt really tired, but then you get in the game and you have your teammates cheering and it brings the energy right back."
By virtue of rainouts on Friday, the championship game was moved to Monday. In past years, the consolation bracket semifinal and title game would be played back-to-back on Saturday.
The Dons, who will have to beat Bear River twice on Monday to win state , were grateful for the day off before Monday’s rematch.
"Oh hell," coach Don Andrews joked, "if we had to play right now I’d just give it to them."
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