Prep softball: Juan Diego's Kaylee Walker keeps focus in 4-3 win over Hunter
Draper • Hunter High had the game all but locked up at Juan Diego on Thursday afternoon, but Kaylee Walker never lost focus.
The Soaring Eagle pitcher seemed to have let the game slide from her hand as she gave up a 2-run home run in the second to Kimauri Toia and watched Samantha McDonald score the go-ahead run in the seventh on Bailey Vigil's stand-up triple.
But Walker never lost focus or confidence in her team or herself.
With two outs in the final frame, teammate Jaici Bishop singled and Mel Mecham followed with a double to put runners in scoring position. Walker then drove the first ball she saw to right field to score two runs and give Juan Diego a 4-3 win.
"You can never give up," Walker said. "We decided that instead of rolling over, we were going to fight for the very last out and win this game."
Coach Paul Archuleta said Walker provides the leadership in the circle and at the plate that his young Juan Diego team needs. Archuleta said Walker stayed confident, so she was able to come through at the right time.
"One through nine stayed strong at the plate. Being able to come through with two outs in the seventh is the kind of player Kaylee is," Archuleta said. "They always believe they can win."
Archuleta said Walker's pitching style works with the team philosophy. Even when she had a difficult inning, Archuleta said he knew Walker could find a way to get the out.
"It's not just them in the circle," Archuleta said. "We have eight other players that are there to help them out and make the play."
Walker said she was discouraged after giving up home run, but knew her teammates would help her out.
"I've been hurt in the past giving up big runs, but I don't let it get me down," Walker said. "I trust my team to help me and for us to get the win."
Prep softball Juan Diego 4, Hunter 3
O Juan Diego's Kaylee Walker hits a go-ahead double in the bottom of the seventh for the win.
• Hunter first baseman Kimauri Toia hits a 2-run homer in the second.
• Hunter pitcher Jorden Beutler strikes out six with one walk.