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5A softball: West outlasts Bingham for Panthers' first state championship

Published May 25, 2017 11:22 pm

5A softball • The Panthers' eight-run rally in fourth inning of finale sinks Bingham.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Taylorsville • Maybe it didn't go down exactly how they envisioned, but the day ultimately went the way of West High School.

And a softball state championship trophy, the first in school history, finally belongs to the Panthers.

"West High, we have such a big community. It was such a great opportunity for us, and we couldn't miss," said Breah Ava, one of only two seniors on the squad.

West earned the Class 5A title by beating Bingham 12-6 in the final game of the day at the Valley Softball Complex.

West (24-8) entered as the only unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament with a chance to earn the accolades and hardware much earlier in the day.

That didn't happen because Bingham (29-8) upset the Panthers 8-4 in the first contest.

"In the first game, our warmup was good and we thought we were good and everything," West center fielder Keisha White said. "Then the game came and we just kind of lost it. When we were going into the second game, a lot of us had attitudes and were down on each other.

"Once we got to the fourth inning of this game, we picked it up and knew we were going to get it."

In the first game, the Miners scored two runs in the third to break a 1-all tie and went on to rally for five more in the fifth.

The second game started with Bingham scoring three runs in the second for a 3-1 lead. But the West batters finally started to get to Miners pitcher Nicole Wall in the fourth.

Wall not only had pitched a complete game against the Panthers in the two teams' first meeting of the day, she also was in the circle for a 4-3 elimination game win over Copper Hills to start the Thursday proceedings.

"There's not a person who watched us this week who didn't comment on the amazing job she did for us," Bingham coach Mikki Jackson said about Wall. "We just hit that one inning where it just started to catch up."

West got a single from Huntyr Ava to start the fourth inning, followed by a walk by older sister Breah. Both runners moved up a base to second and third and White then drove in the Ava sisters with a single to left.

Kamora Masina singled off Bingham reliever Karly Wightman to send in White for a 4-3 lead. The Panthers scored five more runs, with Wall coming back in to pitch before the frame was over.

"When one of us gets a bat [on ball], all of us get it," White said. "I think when I got that hit to tie it, it gave us the momentum that we wanted."

The Panthers finally got what they've grown accustomed to — namely power shots from the batter's box — in the sixth. Huntyr Ava crushed a three-run homer to center field for the first long-ball of the day for West.

"Oh my gosh, I knew my sister would pull through. She always pulls through," Breah Ava said about Huntyr's 22nd home run of the season.

"We preached to the girls the whole week that, whoever we faced, they would bring their A game, and Bingham did," West coach Keith Lopati said. "But our girls are resilient. We talk about that all the time, and they answered the call." —

West 12, Bingham 6

R Keisha White ties the game with a two-run single in the fourth, which kicks off an eight-run rally to give West the lead for good.

• West wins its first softball state title after finishing as runner-up last year.

• Bingham wins the first game 8-4 to set up the winner-take-all finale.






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