Murray • The key to the Murray softball team's resilient 4-2 victory over East in a Class 4A playoff opener may well be what didn't happen Tuesday afternoon.
The Spartans never panicked when the Leopards put runners on second and third base without an out while clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the sixth inning.
Murray never lost its composure in what could have been a disastrous inning against an explosive lineup.
The nerves were steely.
Pitcher Vanessa Brambilla never blinked.
"On the mound, I know that I'm kind of at the center of everything," Brambilla said. "I knew that if my body language was poor, my teammates would pick up on it and it wouldn't be good. I had to keep it calm."
A low rising fastball produced a grounder back to the mound, which held the runner at third. A strikeout swinging came next. Then a lazy fly ball to left field.
A handful of pitched.
Three huge outs and a lead that held through the remainder of the game.
The Spartans not surprisingly were greeted with a standing ovation from their crowd at Riverview Junior High.
The win means that Murray advanced to meet top-seed Salem Hills on Thursday. With a stingy pitching staff and opportunistic bats, the Spartans look at themselves as a dangerous team, a tough out.
"We want to take things one step at a time," Murray coach Lisa Parker said. "I think we showed good experience tonight. East is a very talented team. Our goal was to keep the ball in the park because they have some great power hitters."
That showed. The Leopards were responsible for three of the four extra-base hits in the game. But the Spartans came up with the important hits. Courtney Beavers delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to break a 2-2 deadlock.
Murray never trailed again.
All games at 4 p.m.
• Murray at Salem Hills
• Olympus at Box Elder
• Mtn. Crest at Bountiful
• Provo at Herriman
• Roy at East
• Springville at Clearfield
• Westlake at Maple Mtn.
• Woods Cross at Bonneville