5A softball: Copper Hills sophomore handles Davis
Kaysville • Copper Hills pitcher Payten Davies had been nervous as she stepped into the circle for her first playoff start two days earlier.
But the sophomore looked like a seasoned vet when her coached called upon her again Thursday.
Davies pitched a complete game, giving up a single run to help Copper Hills roll over Davis 5-1 in the second round of the Class 5A state softball tournament.
Grizzlies coach Jentry Johnson said she "went with my gut" in giving Davies the nod for a second consecutive game.
"She's worked her tail off," the coach said. "I have a really good pitching staff, which makes it hard for me to know what to do. Payten has had some recent success that I think is fueling her fire a little bit."
Copper Hills jumped out to an early lead. Riley Cleverly set the table with a second-inning double that put runners on second and third. The Grizzlies' hitters continued to find gaps in the Davis defense and claimed a 3-0 lead. Davies showed good command of her rise ball and kept the Darts off the scoreboard for five innings.
"I just go out there and throw and trust my defense," the pitcher said.
Davis' Breezy Roth got on base with a leadoff walk and later scored thanks to a Copper Hills throwing error in the bottom of the sixth.
But the Grizzlies had five runs on the board by that point, thanks in part to an RBI double by second baseman Paige Watts.
Johnson said she thinks her young Grizzlies a starting lineup that features just two seniors and one junior have begun to hit their stride.
"In the early part of the season, our freshmen were looking over their shoulders and the sophomores were looking over their shoulders to see who was going to do it," the coach said. "After a lot of hard practices and a lot of hard games, they've started to look at themselves and say, 'I'm the one who can get it done.' "
O Tuesday at Valley Softball Complex
4:30 p.m. • Copper Hills vs. Riverton
6:45 p.m. • Weber vs. Bingham
• Lehi vs. Alta
• Brighton vs. Fremont
• Taylorsville vs. Syracuse
• Hunter vs. Davis