Spanish Fork • She’d been held in place, squeezed tightly by her players and assistant coaches to ensure she wouldn’t escape the ritual that comes with winning a title. So Heidi Taylor stood her ground, closed her eyes and braced for the freeze.
Suddenly, and just for a second, she was gone, engulfed by the entire batch of orange Gatorade. She knew it was coming, because when you’ve been there before, you know. Taylor led Grantsville to the Class 3A softball championship a year ago, her program once again stacked with versatile talent from freshmen to seniors.
“I wanted one state championship,” she said, “now I’ve got two. That’s awesome. I love them.”
But as all coaches do, they have to keep track of what’s going on, even in the haze of another state title celebration. So after Grantsville players piled on top of one another near the pitching circle at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex on Saturday afternoon, they all eventually stood up, their gloves scattered around the infield, waiting for another 3A championship trophy to hoist in the air.
Grantsville topped Union 6-1 in the 3A final and once the Cougars received their second-place trophy, the Cowboys grabbed theirs and held it high. But when it came time to pose for the team photo, which will forever be circulated as this team’s pinnacle achievement, Taylor handed her team the bracket on a large white posterboard. Every 3A playoff game was filled out, and of course, Grantsville was atop the lot once again.
“Don’t get it dirty, though,” Taylor said, her hair and shirt still soaked.
They, of course, obliged.
There weren’t that many missteps along the way for Grantsville in 2018.
The Cowboys finished the year 24-5, and on Saturday their starting pitcher showed that the program will very likely be the class of 3A for years to come. Sophomore Bailey Frischknecht went a dominant six innings with 12 strikeouts just a day after leading Grantsville to the title game with a 16-strikeout effort.
“Bailey’s ball moves like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Taylor said, “so I’m not surprised.”
“Bailey is something else,” said Grantsville’s lone senior, Kylee Leach. “She’s one-of-a-kind.”
The sophomore right-hander had no butterflies on Saturday. There was no reason to worry, she said. Frischknecht wants the ball when it matters most. She is not the nervous type, and it showed as she carved up the 3A field this weekend in Spanish Fork. Asked if she’s ever felt that comfortable in the circle, she couldn’t recall a time rivaling her performances Friday and Saturday.
“I’m just excited for the future,” she said, “because we’re a young team and we only go up from here. That’s why I’m so excited.”
Grantsville’s five-run third inning was more than enough. Junior Hailey De Laney drove in the first run of the game off an infield single that brought in Maddison Peterson. Junior Addison Smith, who closed the game, made it 2-0 on a bloop single. Freshman Breana Hiatt tacked on another run on an fielder’s choice.
Freshman August Cowan made it 5-0 with a deep two-run home run to left field.
“It’s surreal, really,” Cowan said afterward.
Even after recording 28 strikeouts in her last two appearances, Frischknecht just shrugged her shoulders during her response to sum up this year’s run and winning back-to-back championships.
“Phenomenal,” she said, “I guess.”