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(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Hayliann Gatten (22) (left) hugs Skyler Cook (10) (right) after Copper Hills scored the winning run in the bottom of the 7th inning to advance to teh 5A finals, as they defeated Bingham, 5-4, May, 23, 2012.
5A softball: Copper Hills makes first-ever 5A softball final

Freshman Sweet delivers winning run.

First Published May 23 2012 10:32 pm • Last Updated May 23 2012 11:47 pm

West Valley » It was a perfect moment for a hero Wednesday night: Bottom of the seventh inning, with the winning run on second.

Most would prefer someone with a little more experience than Copper Hills’ freshman Emilee Sweet at the plate. But coach Gentry Johnson saw something in Sweet’s eyes — a glint, maybe — that told her everything was going her way.

At a glance

Class 5A softball championships

Thursday, at Valley Softball Complex

One-loss bracket semifinal » Weber vs. Bingham, 2:45 p.m.

Championship game » Copper Hills vs. one-loss bracket winner, 5 p.m.

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"She’s rock solid," Johnson said. "She had two strikes against her, but I could tell from her demeanor that she was ready."

The third baseman the Grizzlies call "Sweetness" delivered a walk-off single against Bingham that gave Copper Hills its first-ever berth in the Class 5A title game at Valley Complex, with a 5-4 win.

It was validation for a Grizzlies team that had been perennially abused by the power Miners teams of past years. Copper Hills had to face Bingham’s star ace, Paige Reimann, and showed no fear. And a freshman led them there.

"It means a lot to us — we’ve never been here before," Sweet said. "To actually beat [Bingham] feels great."

Going into the bottom of the inning, Copper Hills actually appeared on the verge of collapse. The Grizzlies led throughout the contest, grabbing a 3-0 lead and holding on with the pitching of Shelby Abetya and some sublime difference. Some Bingham baserunning miscues also played a part.

But by the top of the seventh, the Miners flushed their offensive woes. Kaitlin Latu hit in two runs that gave Bingham a 4-3 lead.

When Amanda Cook came up with a runner on in the bottom of the inning, Johnson had a conference with her senior.

"I said, ‘We need you, captain. We need you to get this done, senior,’ " Johnson said.


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Cook slammed a game-tying double and ended up scoring the winning run.

For the game, Copper Hills hung up eight hits on Reimann, who had an off night with a tight strike zone. The offensive output gave the Grizzlies an advantage headed into Thursday’s final — either Weber or Bingham will have to beat them twice to get a state title.

That leaves the door wide open for Copper Hills to claim its first.

"I’m super excited," Sweet said. "As a freshman playing varsity, it’s definitely a new experience for me. I can’t wait to play."

Weber 6, Riverton 0 » Nicole Weiss homered and doubled for the Warriors, as McKenna Bull notched the win to play Bingham in the one-loss bracket semifinal.

Riverton 14, Taylorsville 4 » Kyrae Kogaines knocked two over the fence for the Silverwolves, who loaded up with 13 hits on the Warriors.

Weber 8, Davis 1 » Hali Bennion hit a home run to lead an explosive Warriors offense, and McKenna Bull and Haylee Chugg dominated with pitching.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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