Football

High school softball: Bingham and Herriman advance to 6A championship

No. 2 seed Herriman and No. 4 seed Bingham both took care of business in their only game at the 6A state softball tournament on Wednesday to advance to the state championship series.

Here’s a recap of the two decisive games.

Bingham 7, Riverton 6

When Bingham beat Riverton on Tuesday in the 6A playoffs, it snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Silverwolves.

As great as that win was, the players also knew unless they did it again the following day, they couldn’t achieve their larger goal of a state championship.

It took some late heroics, but Bingham got the job done and now is two wins from its first state title since 2010.

Despite trailing by four after three innings and then three after five, the Miners rallied with two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to bounce two-time state champion Riverton 7-6.

With the win, Bingham advances to the best-of-3 6A state championship series against Herriman at BYU, with Game 1 getting underway at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Game 2 is Friday at 11 a.m.

“It’s just so exciting to be back. It’s been a long time, it feels like. Just to see the youthfulness and doing it for each other,” said Bingham coach Mikki Jackson, who said she’s not sure her young team would’ve had that type of rally in it earlier in the season.

“Absolutely proud of them because earlier in the year that would’ve been a hard thing for them.”

Freshman No. 8 hitter Brenna Cowley delivered the big hit in the top of the seventh for the Miners, as her two-out, two-run single up the middle gave Bingham the lead for good.

“She’s just grown so much this year. Early in the year that would’ve been a tough position for her,” said Jackson.

With runners at second and third, Cowley stepped into the batter’s box ready to be aggressive as always.

“I’m always the type to go swing at that first pitch. That’s usually when I get my hits,” said Cowley.

She attacked the first-pitch fastball, slapping it over the pitcher’s head with both runners easily scoring.

Clutch hit from freshman Brenna Crowley, whose 2-run single in Top 7 gave Bingham the the 7-6 lead as it rallied to advance to 6A softball state championship. pic.twitter.com/pOC1F9EYyg

— James Edward (@JamesEdward_HS) May 25, 2023

Bingham still had a lot of work to close things out in the bottom of the seventh with Riverton’s No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters coming to the plate.

Joylie Mayfield led off with a walk, with Maggie Hamblin following with a single.

With two on and no outs, Jackson decided to make a pitching change and re-insert starter Brecka Larson into the game in place of ace senior Shelbee Jones.

All year Jackson has talked with her players that “your ego is subservient to the team needs,” and for Jones it meant stepping aside with the game on the line.

The first batter Larson faced, Baylee Martinez, tried a sacrifice bunt. It was initially successful as she reached base, but she was later called out as the umps said she interfered with the first baseman’s ability to catch Larson’s throw.

Larson then got the next two hitters to strike out and pop out to end the threat and secure the berth in the final.

Kaylee Ruesch and Baylee Martinez both homered early in the game for Riverton, which led 3-1 after two innings and then 5-2 after four.

Jones hit a big two-run homer in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-3, and then after Riverton scored in the bottom half of the inning, the Miners added two more in the sixth to set the stage for the dramatic seventh inning.

Herriman 9, Skyridge 1

The next stop for Herriman’s dugout props of oars and life jackets is the ‘ship — the 6A state championship that is.

No. 2 seed Herriman rolled past Skyridge for a second straight day at the 6A state tournament, beating the Falcons 9-1 on Wednesday to secure its place in the championship series against rival Bingham.

Kiaira Smith struck out 11 and only allowed one hit, with the lone run coming on a throwing error, as the Mustangs wrapped up a nearly flawless showing during its three bracket play games at Cottonwood Complex.

In its two wins over Skyridge and then one over Farmington, Herriman combined to outscore them 35-1.

“The bottom of the lineup came through for us. They did their job. I feel like it was a team effort today. Everyone contributed something, whether it was defense making great plays, or if it was on offense making great plays,” said Herriman coach Heidi McKissick.

Tanzie Smith led off the game for Herriman with a solo home run, and she finished the game going 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

“I knew a strike was coming, so when a strike came I knew I was just going to hit the first one that came,” Smith said.

Skyridge tied it up, scoring on the throwing error in the second inning, but Herriman broke things open with a six-run fourth inning that was highlighted by Kiaira Smith’s two-run dinger to center field.

McKissick said it’s been great to watch her team’s resilience all season after dealing with a lot of adversity during a disappointing 2022 season.

“Our theme right now is unstoppable. We want to work our hardest to do the best we can. It’s pretty awesome that we flipped from 5-22 to 22-4 and we’re not done,” said McKissick.

All season sophomore Tanzie Smith has caught for her senior sister Kiaira Smith, who missed all but one game last year after back surgery.

It’s the first time the sisters have played a whole season together at any age group.

“I remember last year we were the ones watching everyone play and now it’s kind of crazy that we’re making it to the ‘ship,” said Tanzie Smith.

Sofia Lancaster and Brynnlee Murdock had big games at the bottom of the lineup for Herriman, as they each went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, while Tanzie Smith and Keira Rodriguez were strong at the top of the lineup with three RBIs each.

Herriman won back-to-back state titles in 2018 and 2019, and this season is its first trip back to the championship since then.



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