Playing in the final home game of their high school careers, the seniors on Grand County’s softball team led the Lady Devils to an 11-6 victory over Emery on Friday, April 19.
There are seven seniors on Grand’s roster: Torrie Lopez, Madi Camps, Linda Minor, Donna Snow, Amanda Sheets, Morgan Dalton and Brianna Ballard.
The Spartans took advantage of Grand’s nerves in the first inning, pouncing for three ones to jump out to the lead. The Lady Devils could have been demoralized and deflated, but instead fought back, scoring two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
“This is a game we had to win to have a chance to make the state playoffs,” Grand softball coach Stephanie Cluff said. “The girls’ nerves got to them early but they settled down and took control of the game.”
Grand scored a run apiece in the third and fourth innings to take the lead before exploding for six runs in the fifth.
“Instead of giving up, we used it to fuel our energy to come out and score on them,” Lopez said. “They started getting momentum again and then Linda Minor robbed a home run and it completely sucked the momentum from them.”
Minor and Ballard drove in two runs each for Grand and Ballard reached base every plate appearance, Cluff said, adding that the Lady Devils’ base running forced Emery’s defense into mistakes and helped fuel Grand’s victory.
Snow earned the victory on the mound despite giving up two home runs and three doubles. Cluff said she missed two practices earlier in the week, which affected her in the game.
“It took her awhile to get settled down, but the defense definitely backed her up,” Cluff said. “Emery had some good hitters, but she also wasn’t hitting her spots like she usually does.”
Lopez said the senior leaders on the team did what they had to win their final home game.
“We had seven seniors playing on our home field for the last time and we wanted to leave everything we had on the field,” she said. “I think that fueled our whole team to refuse to lose. We never let an error or a homerun get to us, we just used it as a learning experience and made it up in the next inning.”
The Lady Devils were also scheduled to play against San Juan in Blanding on Tuesday, April 23, where a win would guarantee them a spot in the playoffs, Cluff said. With a loss, they would have to await the conclusions of Emery and Richfield’s regular seasons to determine which two of the three schools would represent Region 15 along with San Juan in the state tournament, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11 in Spanish Fork.