Linda Minor homered three times during the Lady Devils’ softball season’s first week, including a shot to left center in the fourth inning as the Lady Devils pulled away in the middle innings to beat Carbon 9-5 in their season opener Wednesday, March 6 in Moab.
The Lady Devils split a pair of games against Cyprus on Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9 to begin the season 2-1. Donna Snow was the winning pitcher in both victories.
Nerves got to both teams early Wednesday as they traded the lead back and forth through the first three innings. After Snow retired the side in order to begin the game, the Lady Devils put three runs up in the bottom of the inning. Carbon answered back in the top of the second with four runs to take the lead before grand put one across for a tie through two innings.
After giving up one run in the top of the third, Grand County put up four runs in the bottom half when Torrie Lopez led off with a single. Madie Camps singled two batters later before Morgan Dalton hit an RBI single to score Lopez. Rhiannon Bohannon then plated both Camps and Dalton with a 2 RBI single. Minor’s home run in the fourth capped the run and seemed to be the dagger as combined with the Dinos’ pressing and relieved nerves on Grand County’s defense, Carbon couldn’t muster significant offense the rest of the game.
“It feels good,” Minor said of homering in the season opener. “I made to make up for my pop-up (earlier in the game.)”
“That’s what we do,” Minor and Snow said in unison. “When we slack, pick it up.”
Snow pitched the first six innings for Grand County, striking out four batters and walking two while throwing 85 pitches. It took her 62 pitches to get through the first three innings and only 23 to get through the next three, retiring nine out of her last 10 batters faced.
“The nerves calmed down and we were able to get situated,” Snow said. “The defense was backing me up.”
Amanda Sheets struck out one batter and walked two in a scoreless seventh inning to put the game away for Grand County.
On Friday, March 8 Sheets took the loss on the mound after Grand County blew a six-run lead over the final two innings, losing 14-12. After leading 8-2 going into the sixth inning, the Lady Devils gave up four runs in the sixth inning and eight more in the seventh before scoring four runs of their own in a seventh-inning rally that fell short. Minor belted two home runs and Snow and Lopez each added one in the loss. Sheets added a double and a triple.
The Lady Devils avenged their loss when the teams met again the next day in a game that followed a similar script, but with an alternate ending. Grand County led 8-2 after the second inning before allowing Cyprus to tie the score at 8 apiece in the top of the sixth inning. This time, their offense broke through for five runs in the bottom of the sixth before staving off Cyprus in the seventh for a 13-10 victory. Teaven Fredericks homered for Grand County and Sheets and Dalton each added a double.
Grand County softball coach Stephanie Cluff said despite having seven seniors on the team, The Lady Devils a still a largely young and inexperienced team. She added that each of her seniors are great leaders.
Cluff said the opener was a good way to gauge where the team is compared to where it needs to be.
“This was a great judgment game, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” she said. “We’ve got to work on where to be, where to go with the ball. We’re nervous in certain situations.”
Cluff said Grand County, who’s missing some familiar faces from the last few years of the program, will still boast an enthusiastic team whose strength is its base-running.
“All 24 of the girls are out here to work hard; they’re all eager to play,” she said. “We’re not worried about those who didn’t come out. We’re just excited about the great season we’re gonna have.”
The Lady Devils played host to Duchesne on Tuesday, March 12 and welcome San Juan to Moab for their Region 15 opener on Tuesday, March 19. First pitch against San Juan is scheduled for 3 p.m.