By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
SPANISH FORK – The Cedar Lady Reds softball team made one thing abundantly clear as they made their run through the 4A state playoffs. Getting to Saturday and getting a chance at the title was the only acceptable option.
While the first part of the mission was accomplished May 19, the Spanish Fork Lady Dons ended Cedar’s season with a 13-7 victory in the final elimination game played at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex.
The Lady Reds had to play the survival game after an 8-4 loss to Bear River the day before that ended a 19-game winning streak.
“We showed our weakness this year at the plate, the change-up,” Cedar head coach Chris Weaver said. “That became evident against Bear River and (Spanish Fork) capitalized on it. We still put up seven runs and the kids did great.”
After two scoreless innings, Spanish Fork used the short game to perfection to put up three runs in the top of the third. Amanda Mitchell led off with a single to right field and Marae Condie reached on a throwing error to put two runners on. Trinity Benson followed with a bunt single that scored two runs, and Mallory Barber reached on another bunt single that pushed the lead to 3-0.
Cedar got a run back in the bottom of the inning as senior and Southern Utah commit Dream Weaver homered, the first of four the Lady Reds would hit on the day. Spanish Fork got the run back in the top of the fourth when pitcher Briley Young singled and hustled home from second base after a throwing error.
The Dons would add three more runs in the fifth, all coming on a two-run homer from Aislyn Sharp and a solo shot from Young. Allie Meisner joined the home run party for Cedar with a solo blast in the bottom half, but Spanish Fork put the win away with four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Sophomore Denim Henkel gave the Lady Reds their last doses of offense with a pair of home runs – a lead-off shot in the bottom of the sixth and a three-run homer in the seventh. Henkel set a new school record at Cedar with 17 home runs for the season.
“I wish we would have done better, but we made it to Saturday,” Chris Weaver said.
Against Bear River, who ended Spanish Fork’s three-year 4A championship run with a 5-4 victory later Saturday, Cedar got off to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on home runs from Dream Weaver and Pua Johnson, but the Bears put up four runs in the bottom half of the inning and added four more in the second. The Lady Reds got two runs back in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t get any closer.
Cedar pulled off the upset of the tournament when it beat the Lady Dons, 2-1 on May 17. The winning run scored in the bottom of the seventh inning when Henkel won a foot race to the second-base bag on a Johnson ground ball. Henkel scored the Lady Reds’ other run with a home run in the bottom of the fifth that tied the game after Spanish Fork scored its run in the top of the frame.