Prep softball: Bonneville beats Spanish Fork to advance to 4A title game
Taylorsville • Defense wins championships. It's a belief â some would say a clichÃ© â that spans across multiple sports.
Count Bonneville softball coach Brenda Hart as a subscriber to that mantra.
Behind solid pitching by Andy Hancock, Hart's Lakers used good defense to defeat Spanish Fork 3-1 in the winner's bracket final of the Class 4A state tournament at the Valley Softball Complex.
Bonneville advances to Thursday's championship game at 5:15 p.m. The Lakers (25-3) will face either Spanish Fork again or Salem Hills for the title, and they will need just one victory while their opponent must win twice to claim the crown.
After pitching a 1-0 shutout against Salem Hills on Tuesday, Hancock allowed just one earned run Wednesday against the Dons (25-5). She gave up five hits and three walks but continually got Spanish Fork to hit ground balls and popups, which Bonneville time after time converted into outs.
"At the beginning of the season, we talked about how defense was going to win games for us," Hart said. "Our defense has really pulled through for us. We're solid, and we're doing really well."
After trailing 2-0 and not getting a hit in the first two innings, the Dons scored a run in the bottom of the third and seemed as if they were gaining momentum. However, Bonneville turned back every minor rally and didn't allow the run the rest of the game.
Spanish Fork finished with seven runners left on base.
"When someone gets on, you just kind of got to let it go," Bonneville catcher Abby Toller said. "I know that Andy will get the next person up; she does not give up two hits in a row."
"And I know our defense will get the next person out," Hancock added.
Toller drove in a run in the first innings, and Brindi Jenkins added an RBI single in the second for all the scoring the Lakers would need.
Spanish Fork pitcher Kelsey Christensen also turned in a solid game, giving up just two earned runs and striking out four. But her effort wasn't enough to avoid the loss.
"We played OK, but we've played better," Spanish Fork coach Don Andrews said. "Their pitcher handled us today â that's all it was. We are a better hitting team than we were today."
With the Lakers one game away from their first state championship since 2005, Hancock is confident of her team's chances.
"We're looking to do what we've been doing all season," she said. "We're looking to play Laker ball. And if we do that, we'll be successful.
Salem Hills 11, Maple Mountain 1 • The defending champion Skyhawks scored all of their runs in the top of the seventh inning to advance to Thursday afternoon's loser's bracket final against Spanish Fork.
O At Valley Softball Complex
Winners' bracket final
• Bonneville 3,Spanish Fork 1
Losers' bracket final
• Spanish Fork vs. Salem Hills, 2:30 p.m.
• Bonneville vs. Spanish Fork/Salem Hills winner, 5 p.m.