Salem • Renae Kinghorn faced a difficult decision in the bottom of the sixth inning of a scoreless game.
Should the Salem Hills softball coach have Abbie Tuttle bunt or let her swing away with runners on first and second and no outs?
Clark left the bat in Tuttle's hands.
Tuttle doubled in what proved to be the winning run Thursday afternoon to help Salem Hills to a 3-0 win over Murray in the second round of the Class 4A state softball tournament.
"It crossed my mind for a second that maybe I should have her bunt, but if Abbie Tuttle doesn't get on her first two at-bats, I know that she's going to hit the ball in her third at-bat," Kinghorn said. "I took a risk, and sometimes when you take a risk it doesn't pay off. But I'm so glad it did today."
Kenzie Martin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a walk. Murray opted to lift starting pitcher Vanessa Brambila in favor of Erin Hohnholt.
Tiffany Madsen then beat out a bunt to leave runners at first and second. Tuttle answered with a double to center field for a 1-0 lead. Kirtlyn Bohling then hit a sacrifice fly, and Ashley Whiting followed with a bunt. Murray tried to get Tuttle at home, but she beat the throw to give the Skyhawks a 3-0 lead.
It was more than enough for Bohling, who gave up just two hits and won her 20th game of the season while recording her 15th shutout.
Murray's best chance to score came in the fourth inning when Lauren Bell hit a comebacker to Bohling, but her throw to first was wide, which allowed Bell to reach second.
Murray opted to send Bell, but Salem Hills catcher Kaylee Simons threw a strike to third for the first out. Emily Adams walked, then Christal Milne popped up a bunt that looked like it would fall, but Simons made a diving catch in front of the plate.
It proved to be a pivotal defensive play because Courtney Beavers singled to right, leaving runners on first and third.
Ashlee Crabtree hit a sinking line drive to left that seemed certain to give Murray the lead, but Whiting made a diving catch to get the Skyhawks out of the inning unscathed.