Softball playoffs: Bonneville’s 5th-inning tidal wave secures Game 1 win over Box Elder
Patrick Carr, Standard-Examiner
BRIGHAM CITY — Softball is generally a seven-inning game. Sometimes, one inning is absurd enough to make the other six not matter as much.
No. 15 Bonneville scored nine runs in the fifth inning, batted around the order almost twice, chased two different pitchers out of the game and cruised to a 12-7 win at No. 3 Box Elder in the first game of the teams’ best-of-three, second-round series in the 5A state tournament.
The Lakers had plenty of motivation for their fifth-inning tidal wave, apart from going 0-2 against the Bees in the regular season.
Box Elder (18-7) scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth to chase Bonneville (11-9) pitcher Emmaline DeGroot out of the game and take a 5-1 lead.
After a run scored on an error, it was DeGroot who livened up the top of the fifth with a hard two-run single to cut the Bees’ lead to 5-4 and force Box Elder to swap Kellie Malan for Ashley Hammers at pitcher.
Patrick Carr, Standard-Examiner
Peighton Summers’ RBI double, after she’d earlier been hit in the face by a throw from right field, made it 5-5. Baylee Andreasen’s line drive made it 6-5. Mylee Pedersen ripped a two-run single to right field for 8-5. Another run scored on an error.
Box Elder put freshman pitcher Lucy Braegger into the game for her fourth appearance of the season. She forced a flyout to get out No. 2 of the inning, then Kaylee McAfee sliced an RBI single left field for a 10-5 lead. The hitting was contagious.
“Emmaline is before me and she’s our power hitter, and so I see her, she gets a hit, I gotta get a hit now and I’m going to score her,” Summers said. “If someone before me gets on, I gotta get on so the girls behind me can score me and that’s how we keep going.”
Bonneville retired Box Elder’s lineup in order in the bottom of the fifth, then Pedersen’s RBI single scored another run in the sixth before a passed ball made it 12-5.
Malan’s hard grounder brought one run across for the Bees in the bottom of the sixth. Stevie Checketts missed out on a three-run homer to center field by about two feet, instead tallying an RBI single to cut the Bonneville lead to 12-7.
The nine-run fifth inning was just too much.
All told, Pedersen batted 3 for 4 with three RBIs for the Lakers. DeGroot went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and Summers hit two doubles.
Chandlyr Noble tossed 3 2/3 innings of relief and gave up two earned runs. She got two of her four strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.
Checketts started Box Elder’s five-run fourth inning with an RBI single, followed by Syndey Stokes’ two-run single.
Malena Benson’s RBI single made it 5-1, and the throw from right field hit Summers in the face, giving her a bloody nose and putting her on the dirt for a couple minutes.
“It’s a little tender but that’s OK. I think I was more in shock when it first happened, but I told coach I’m not coming out,” Summers said.
The teams convene again on the same field at 3:30 p.m. Friday, with Bonneville needing one win and Box Elder, fresh off its first region title since 2017, needing two to advance to next week’s state-tournament final eight.
“Any time you’re put up against a wall and you have to come back and win two, that means you have to show up with a lot of attitude and confidence. If we show up soft, we’ll get beat,” Box Elder coach Brian Merrill said. “If we show up and just be ourselves, we can beat them twice.”
Bonneville came into the season with ambitions of winning Region 5, ambitions that were dashed by getting swept by the region’s co-champions Box Elder (10-9 and 8-1) and Bountiful (15-7 and 3-2).
The Lakers have since won six of their last eight games and have scored 38 runs in three playoff games.
“We’re really just starting to come on and play the way I know they can,” Bonneville coach Shelby Healy said. “I think a lot what’s different is our mindset. We’re believing in ourselves instead of questioning ourselves. They’re believing in each other and just finally playing that united team ball.”
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at email@example.com, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.