Bear River’s Zoe Sorensen belts a two-run homer in the first inning vs. Snow Canyon in 4A playoffs, St. George, Utah, May 19, 2022. Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — Although Northern Utah’s Region 11 had just two of the six teams that were still alive in the 4A softball playoffs heading into Thursday’s games, both of those teams – Ridgeline and Bear River – made it into the championship game undefeated. Meanwhile, Southern Utah’s Region 10 saw all of its teams eliminated on Thursday.
No. 1 seeded Bear River, which had made it past Cedar and Hurricane on Wednesday, defeated the Snow Canyon Warriors 5-4 on Thursday afternoon to earn a spot in the finals.
Meanwhile, in the other bracket, the Ridgeline RiverHawks started the tournament with a 10-0 shutout win over Dixie, after which they defeated the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs, 5-1.
Thursday, Crimson Cliffs had to first make it past Region 10 rival Desert Hills, which the Mustangs did by a score of 6-2. That earned Crimson Cliffs a rematch with the RiverHawks. Ridgeline got off to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first and never looked back, powering its way to a 15-5 victory in seven innings.
Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games were played at the Canyons Complex in St. George. For the best-of-three finals, which start at noon on Friday, the venue will shift to Dixie State University. Game 2 of the finals will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, with a third game, if necessary, to follow at 1:30 p.m. Click here to see the full bracket.
With the win over Snow Canyon, Bear River improved its season record to 28-3 overall. Bear River defeated Region 11 rival Ridgeline (now 24-5 overall) both times they played them during the regular season, with the Bears winning 10-5 on April 19 and 7-4 on May 6.
Following are brief recaps of Thursday’s games:
Crimson Cliffs 6, Desert Hills 2
The Mustangs defeated the Thunder for the second time in as many days, with third baseman Emma Shakespear knocking in four runs for Crimson Cliffs. Shakespear’s first hit was a bases-loaded double in the third inning that brought in two runners (another runner was thrown out at third base on the play). Then, in the fifth inning, Shakespear cranked a two-run homer that hit the top of the left field fence and went over, giving the Mustangs a 6-1 cushion. Pitcher Ashlyn Cowdell went the distance for the Mustangs, scattering seven hits over seven innings while walking one and striking out four.
Snow Canyon 5, Hurricane 1
Snow Canyon, which had been defeated by Hurricane in extra innings the previous day, avenged that loss with a 5-1 defeat of the Tigers on Thursday. The Warriors scored the game’s first run when Anyssa Montano stole home in the bottom of the first with two out. Hurricane quickly answered with a solo home run by Faith Fuller to lead off the top of the second, tying the score 1-1. That was all the offense the Tigers could muster, however, as the Warriors scored two runs in the third and two more in the fourth to pull away. Avery Thorkelson pitched the entire game for Snow Canyon, allowing just two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Bear River 5, Snow Canyon 4
Top-ranked Bear River stayed undefeated in the 4A playoffs with a one-run win over the Warriors. Zoe Sorensen started the Bears off with a two-run homer to center field in the bottom of the first. Snow Canyon scored on an error in the third inning to make it 2-1, but the Bears added two more insurance runs in the fourth. Snow Canyon then tied the game up 4-4 in the top of the fifth, thanks two a two-run single by Kylie Hardy, followed by a successful steal of home by Emma Miller. The deciding run for the Bears came in the bottom of the fifth, when McCall Maxwell led off the inning with a solo homer. Kate Dahle went the distance in the circle and picked up the win for the Bears, while Snow Canyon’s Jenna Thorkelson took the loss.
Ridgeline 15, Crimson Cliffs 5
Ridgeline scored three or more runs in four different innings as the Hawks posted a decisive win over the Mustangs. Five different players had at least two hits for Ridgeline, with catcher Anne Wallace leading the way with two home runs and a double for a total of seven RBIs. Pitcher Markessa Jensen picked up the complete game victory for Ridgeline; she had a shutout going until the Mustangs’ Ellie Herd belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.