Bountiful • It's fitting that the final out fell into Kenzie Rasmussen's glove.
The center fielder was instrumental in every key play for Mountain Crest, so it made sense that she would end Bountiful's threat in the bottom of the seventh inning by sprinting to catch the shallow pop fly.
The Mustangs outlasted the Braves 6-5 in the second round of the Class 4A state softball tournament Thursday. It was on the strength of Rasmussen's bat, glove and arm that the Mustangs advanced to the next round.
Rasmussen showed her composure at the plate in the third inning. Her teammates collected three consecutive singles to load the bases for the Mustangs' cleanup hitter. She sat on a 1-1 fastball belt high and used her smooth stroke to send the ball soaring over the left-center field wall.
Mustangs pinch-runner Kaycee Petersen watched the ball clear the fence from third before she was the first to be tackled by the emptied dugout at the plate. With Jori Hansen and McKenzie Anderson waiting to join her, Rasmussen trotted the bases before jumping into the stampede of players.
"Ras was amazing today," Mountain Crest catcher Tessa Sorensen said. "She had been struggling lately, so there was nobody I wanted to hit a home run more than Ras."
The crown to Rasmussen's performance came in the fourth. Mustangs pitcher Jordan Smith found herself in trouble when she loaded the bases with two outs.
Bountiful's Bailey Hart stabbed a single through the right side of the infield to plate a run. Sydney Austin tried to sneak in from second base, but Rasmussen scooped up the ball on the run and unleashed a laser to Sorensen, who applied the tag in time.
"The ball was perfectly thrown," Sorensen said. "Had it been an inch or two off, I couldn't have made the play. She really saved our bottoms with that throw."
Smith was effective in the circle by hurling top-spinning balls that resulted in 12 pop-outs. She held the Braves to four hits.
"She's an ace," Rasmussen said about Smith. "She gets the team involved and can make the right pitch. I'm so excited about this team victory."
O Tuesday at Valley Softball Complex
4:30 p.m. • Salem Hills vs. Box Elder
6:45 p.m. • Mountain Crest vs. Provo
4 p.m. • Roy vs. Herriman
4 p.m. • Springville vs. Bountiful
4 p.m. • Maple Mountain vs. Olympus
4 p.m. • Bonneville vs. Murray