By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
Cedar head softball coach Chris Weaver knew his team hadn’t faced the type of pitching he knows it will see at the 4A state tournament. The Lady Reds had their moments, but came through in the clutch for two more wins and pulled closer to another Region 9 title.
Dream Weaver hit her second home run of the game to break a tie, and Cedar went on to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 7-3 win over Snow Canyon. Denim Henkel added a two-run home run – her 11th of the season – and Shaun Bauman hit a two-run single in the key sixth-inning rally.
“You see great pitching like what we had today at state,” Weaver said. “We’re not overconfident, but we just need to see better pitching every time.”
Other than a first-inning home run from Dream Weaver and the blast from Henkel, Snow Canyon starter Payton Jensen kept Cedar in check. The Warriors struck first on an RBI single from Courtney Averett and took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third on a home run from Marly Moala.
Snow Canyon was able to answer Henkel’s home run with a run in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice from Alex Demming that tied the score at 3-3, setting the stage for Cedar’s late heroics. Bryton Holyoak allowed a double to Demming in the top of the seventh, but struck out pinch-hitter Tyler Mooring for the final out.
In the second game of the week, Cedar reduced its magic number for clinching another Region 9 title to one with a duplicate performance against Desert Hills. The Lady Reds broke another sixth-inning tie with four runs and beat the Thunder 11-7 on a cold, windy day at Tom Cardon Field.
Kylie Oldroyd was the hitting star in Cedar’s 19th straight region win, going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the sixth inning and five RBI. Henkel got the winning rally started with a run-scoring groundout.
“That’s a sign of her maturity at the plate,” Chris Weaver said of Henkel’s productive out.
Cedar broke out quickly with four runs in the bottom of the first – two scoring on a Sage Oldroyd double – and stretched the lead to 5-1 in the second on an RBI single from Dream Weaver.
With the wind gusting to more than 30 mph throughout the game, the Thunder were able to capitalize and grab the lead. Tori Hinton hit a two-run home run off Cedar starter Kenzie Waters in the third to pull Desert Hills within 5-3, then starting pitcher Brianna St. Clair chased Waters with a two-run homer in the fourth that summoned Holyoak.
The senior left-hander got Katelyn Phillips to pop out for the second out of the inning, but Addi Betts went deep on a 1-0 pitch for a 6-5 Thunder lead.
After Kylie Oldroyd’s double put the Lady Reds back in front in the bottom of the frame, the score held until the top of the sixth when Betts hit the first pitch from Holyoak over the fence in center field to tie the score.
Allie Meisner started the winning rally for Cedar as she was hit by a pitch from St. Clair. Dream Weaver hit a fly ball that was pushed by the wind and glanced off the glove of center fielder Kylee Christensen, putting runners at second and third.
Henkel’s groundout plated Meisner to break the tie, and Pua Johnson drove in Weaver with a single to push the lead to two. Oldroyd followed by sending a 2-2 pitch from St. Clair over the fence in left-center.
Holyoak allowed a two-out single to St. Clair in the top of the seventh, but secured the win for Cedar by getting Phillips to ground out.
The Lady Reds were idle Tuesday and resume region play Friday with a 4 p.m. game at Canyon View.