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Prep softball: Maple Mountain beats Box Elder 3-2 in Class 4A playoffs

Published May 24, 2016 10:28 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

West Valley City • Maple Mountain's four seniors had only a limited chance they would make it to their own high school graduation — and still play in the Class 4A tournament on Tuesday.

At the end of the day, it seemed that somehow Peyton Hunter, Ellie Ashman, McKenzie Mecham and Bailey Witney pulled both off successfully.

After the quartet participated in a pregame graduation ceremony, complete with robes, mortar boards, tassels and softball uniforms underneath, they led the Golden Eagles to a 3-2 victory over Box Elder.

Hunter, after giving up a solo homer to Bees' shortstop Taylor Sorenson in the top of the sixth, saw her team respond with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. She then retired Box Elder in the seventh and ended the game with her ninth strikeout.

"She's focused and now she's going to go to graduation," said Maple Mountain coach Cassie Reese at the end of the game. "Try to catch the end."

Box Elder (17-5), which had not allowed a run in its first two state tourney victories over Provo and Springville, tallied the first score of the game in the third inning.

The Bees' Nyah DeRyke hit a double the opposite way to right-center field and was then singled home by Macen O'Neal for a 1-0 lead.

That was enough for four innings for Box Elder starting pitcher Baylee Merrill, who allowed only one hit over that span.

But Maple Mountain (18-8) evened the game in the fifth when leadoff batter Sydnie Wilson walked and, on consecutive bunts, was sacrificed over to second and third base. When Mecham then found the hole between shortstop and third for a single, that scored Wilson.

That deadlock was short-lived as Sorenson then belted her homer when Box Elder came up next.

When the game moved into the bottom of the sixth, Box Elder coach Taleas Marble went with DeRyke in a relief pitching role. Maple Mountain leadoff hitter Mickey Mills then started the game-winning rally with a single to center, which was followed by a bunt hit by Ashman.

Alayna Ellis then found a spot in right for another hit as Mills scored to even the game at 2-2. The fourth straight single, a soft poke over Box Elder second baseman Karlie Rodriguez, scored Ashman for the lead.

"We played them down in St. George and it went eight innings, so we were expecting it was going to be a tough one. We've been doing pretty good with Nyah coming in and closing," Marble said. "They started hitting Baylee a little bit in that last inning, so we decided to switch that up a little bit.

"Sometimes it doesn't work," she added.




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