Draper • After five consecutive state championships, Bear River softball coach Calvin Bingham doesn't need to say anything to motivate his team.
The Bears have things covered just fine.
Bear River began its quest for a sixth straight title with a 3-0 victory over Pine View in the Class 3A state softball tournament Saturday at Juan Diego. Jordan Theurer scattered six hits and struck out 11 in the shutout.
"Actually, there's more pressure on you because you feel like you have to uphold that title," Theurer said. "It's good pressure because it pushes us each day to get better. We know every team will give us their best. We have really good athletes and great coaching that has helped us be successful."
The Bears (18-7) have created quite a legacy at the state tournament, going 26-1 in the playoffs over the last six seasons. The lone defeat came against Spanish Fork in the first state championship game last season.
As a No. 2 region seed, Bear River expected to see better competition in its opening playoff game, and the Bears got it from Pine View (18-6), a No. 3 seed. The Bears managed solo runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings, which proved enough.
"They're psyched, they really want to play," Bingham said about his team. "Our biggest challenge is we've got so many young players that we've been inconsistent and nerves have interfered a little bit. But they're a talented bunch."
Bear River broke a scoreless game in the second when Carleen Hunsaker singled home a run. The other two runs were scored without the benefit of a hit. Erin Fox doubled and scored following consecutive wild pitches in the fifth, while an errant throw following McKayla King's sacrifice plated another in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Theurer was able to pitch out of trouble, leaving eight base runners stranded and striking out six straight batters at one point. Ten of Theurer's first 16 outs recorded in the game were by strikeout.
"We were nervous about this game," admitted Theurer, who improved to 10-4 this season. "We knew Pine View was a good team and we've been on a downward motion. We needed this game to secure us."
Bingham knew his team would buckle down and take control.
"They've experienced what it's like, and they know how fun it is," Bingham said. "They help to get the rest of the team prepared. Success breeds success."
Pine View's biggest downfall was its inability to get timely hits. The Panthers had base runners in all but one inning but failed to score, twice leaving a pair of runners stranded. Theurer's pitching, of course, had a lot to do with that.
"The first [game] is probably as tough as any of them," Bingham said. "We got that first one out of the way and our nerves settled down a bit."
Fox and Sierra Detwiler both doubled and had two hits for Bear River, which advanced to face Juan Diego on Thursday in St. George. Kylee Becker had three hits for the Panthers.
Storylines Bear River 3, Pine View 0
R The five-time defending state champs opened their title defense with a win.
• Pine View stranded at least one runner in all but one inning.