By Tom Zulewski
As I took in the junior softball All-Star Tournament final between Cedar American and Snow Canyon last week, there were interesting story lines all over the place.
Cedar American was trailing in both of its games against SC, but they proved it’s all about what the scoreboard says when the final outs are recorded.
In our first exhibit, Cedar American found itself down 3-2 on July 11 after Denim Henkel’s solo home run in the fourth inning, her fourth of the tournament. They would rally with single runs in the fifth and sixth, and Henkel got defensive support in the seventh when a line drive turned into a double play that preserved a 4-3 win.
Two days later, Cedar American never led until it mattered and they took insurance runs to a lockdown level. They scored five in the fifth to wipe out a 4-2 deficit, then made sure the roof would fall in one inning later.
With the score still at 7-4 in the sixth, there were two runners on and two out when Henkel stepped to the plate. Snow Canyon gave her the intentional walk to load the bases.
The move backfired in explosive fashion.
Laney Anzalone doubled to score two runs. Katie Anderson reached on an error to score another. Gracie Morales doubled to score two more.
And when Logann Laws singled to score Payton Naegele, the rally was complete and the run rule put the team on the road to Tucson, Ariz., for the Junior League West Regional for the second year in a row.
Henkel wasn’t happy when she was walked, but it proved that hitting can be contagious when her teammates clearly had her back.
-From the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, there was a Southern Utah connection for the American League who’s having a pretty impressive season for the Minnesota Twins.
Dixie State grad Brandon Kintzler was named to the AL All-Star team and retired the side in order in the fifth inning at Marlins Park in Miami on July 11. The American League went on to win the game for the fifth straight year, 2-1 in 10 innings.
Through Sunday, Kintzler is second in the AL with 25 saves, trailing only Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome’s 26. Greg Holland of the Colorado Rockies leads the majors with 28.
-At the 119th Utah State Amateur in Ogden, only three Southern Utah golfers made it to the match play field last week, but didn’t get very far. Fidel Concepcion and Ryan Brimley were eliminated in the opening round, and Denny Job advanced to the round of 32 before being eliminated by Jacob Marx, 2 and 1.
-On the NASCAR front, Joe Gibbs Racing finally got its first win of 2017 as Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag in the Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He’s the 11th different driver to earn a Monster Energy Cup win this season.
But it just as easily could have been Kyle Busch, who was going for the weekend sweep after winning his 89th career XFINITY Series race July 15. Busch, who led 95 laps, was busted for a pair of pit road speeding penalties late in Sunday’s Cup race and ended up 12th.
For all of his success in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, Busch is heading toward the one-year anniversary of his last win, which happened at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In his world, no matter what the series, second place will always be the first loser.
Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email email@example.com.