TAYLORSVILLE — Farmington High's softball coach Jasey Fatongia walked to home plate with her team's lineup prior to the Phoenix's 5A state quarterfinal against Bountiful on Wednesday morning and said, "It's about time."
Eight days and several inches of rain separated when the 5A state quarterfinals were originally scheduled (May 21) and when they actually began (May 29).
This year's 6A and 5A state tournaments finally resumed Wednesday at Valley Regional Park and at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville, complete with a 1 1/2 hour rain/lightning delay in the middle of the day.
But just like last year, Bountiful High held serve.
After defeating Farmington in the quarterfinals, the Braves thrashed Roy 11-1 in the winner's bracket semifinal to advance to Thursday's 5A title game against the winner of the Roy-West game out of the one-loss bracket.
The win had a lot more meaning than just a repeat trip to the title game for Bountiful. Alyssa Bowles hit two solo home runs barely a week after a close friend of hers passed away.
"These were all for my friend Jovanni (Lozano-Sayama)," Bowles said. "This whole tournament's for him."
The Miami Dolphins NFL team logo is on their batting helmets. Written in black marker on the inside of Bowles' wrist were the letters "JO."
"They've really picked me up, I was really close with him, so they've really picked me up and helped me to know that we worry about that off the field and we just ball out right here as a team," Bowles said.
Bountiful took advantage of several Roy errors early to build a 5-0 lead in the second inning. Livi Arona's two-run homer to left field made it 7-0 in the third and Bowles followed on the very next pitch with a solo shot to straightaway center.
Pitcher Corinne Hall tossed a complete game and allowed five hits.
"We talked about what happened last year and we've got a chance to come back. When you've got that, you might as well go with it," Braves coach Butch Latey said.
Roy scored on an error in the fourth to cut the lead to 8-1. In the fifth, Bowles hit a solo homer to almost the same spot in center field. The Braves had multiple runners on base in the fifth and threatened to win by mercy rule.
The Royals got out of the jam in the fifth, but the Braves invoked the 10-run rule in the sixth with a sacrifice fly by Bowles and another run scored on an error.
"We just didn't come with our A-game and that's OK, because we played awesome against West, absolutely had a great team, great game. You have lapses every once in awhile and it happens, but I think we'll come back stronger and better," Roy head coach Stephanie Mark said.
The Royals haven't seen the last of West. They'll face the same Panthers squad at 11 a.m. Thursday in the one-loss bracket semifinal.
The winner gets Bountiful at 1:30 p.m. when the Braves will look to wash away last year's bitter ending. If Roy or West defeats Bountiful, the teams will play again to decide the 5A championship.
Though the weather finally cleared up well enough for games to be played Wednesday at Valley Regional Park, the past week's deluge took its toll in other ways.
Only two fields were available for use at the start of the day, hence the 6A tournament was moved to Salt Lake Community College until the Layton-Copper Hills nightcap.
There were still issues with those fields. The pitcher's rubber kept coming out of the ground on both fields and even prompted Farmington's one-loss bracket game against Springville to get moved to another field that the grounds crew was working on all morning.
LAYTON 19, COPPER HILLS 7
Layton avenged last week's quarterfinals loss to Copper Hills by eliminating the Grizzlies on Wednesday night at Valley Regional Park in Taylorsville, 13 hours before the Lancers will take on Herriman in the 6A championship round scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Salt Lake Community College.
Bailey Nay hit a two-run homer in the fourth to put Layton up 4-3. The Lancers went up 7-5 with a six-run fourth inning, but that was only the beginning of the onslaught.
Nay singled twice in the fifth, driving in three runs, as Layton poured on 12 runs in the frame to eventually run-rule Copper Hills and end the game early.
Nay hit 3 for 4 with five RBIs. Kaitlyn Roberts doubled twice and drove in three runs. Kambel Larsen drove in three runs, while Sadee Watkins, Brooklyn Pritchett and Halle Duke each drove in two.
Jackie Gold earned the win in the circle.
If Layton defeats unbeaten Herriman at 11 a.m., the two teams play again to decide the 6A title.
ROY 2, WEST 1
Wednesday started about as well as it possibly could have for Roy.
Pitcher Maysa Averett doled out eight strikeouts to a West High lineup that entered the day batting .502 as a team and the Royals beat the Panthers 2-1 to advance to the 5A semifinals.
Before Wednesday, West hadn’t lost to a team from Utah all season — but, before Wednesday, the Panthers hadn’t faced Averett this season.
The senior pitcher struck out the side to start the game, then pitched out of a jam in the third inning after a West RBI double made it 1-0.
The Panthers loaded the bases with one out and threatened to blow the game wide open before a lineout and a strikeout ended the threat.
Saige Nielsen and Maddy Dunn each hit a solo home run to provide the run support, as Nielsen hit a two-out shot to straightaway centerfield to tie the game 1-1 in the fourth.
Dunn homered to left in the fifth to give Roy the lead and Averett handled the rest, ending the game just as she started it: with a strikeout.
BOUNTIFUL 5, FARMINGTON 2
Bountiful started fast in a 5-2 win over Farmington, scoring twice in the first inning and twice again in the seventh to win a winner's bracket quarterfinal game earlier Wednesday.
Annie Salazar pitched a complete game for Bountiful and allowed two runs in the seventh on a Morgan Tanner home run.
Livi Arona's RBI single and Alyssa Bowles' sacrifice fly in the first gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead. They made it 3-0 when Ashlee McPhearson's single brought home Libbie Hawker after Hawker stole second base.
Phoenix freshman pitcher Delaney Baker struck out four in a complete game, allowing five unearned runs.
Baker pitched out of jams in the third and fourth innings to keep the scoreline at 3-0.
The Braves' persistence resulted in a 5-0 lead in the seventh after an error and an RBI double by McPhearson.
Tanner's homer in the bottom half gave the Phoenix a chance, but Salazar quickly snuffed out any hope.
FARMINGTON 4, SPRINGVILLE 3
Morgan Tanner hit a 3-run homer and that was ultimately decisive as Farmington beat Springville in the one-loss bracket. Delaney Baker pitched a complete game and allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts.
The Phoenix trailed 2-1 in the fourth inning when, with two outs, Farmington got consecutive singles that brought Tanner to the plate. She took the first pitch she saw out to right-center field and FHS held on for the win.
WEST 9, FARMINGTON 5
Eventually, fatigue caught up to the Phoenix as did a red-hot West team. Farmington led 5-1, then watched the Panthers reel off a six-run fourth inning and take control in a result that ends the Phoenix's inaugural season.
"It was a great thing coming in as a No. 4 seed, the girls had no pressure, came in and just played their game. We had some pretty good upsets coming in and I think that really got us going and showed the girls that they really are ready for this. It's been a lot of fun," Fatongia said.
And once again, Tanner hit a home run. The junior catcher's third home run of the day came in the second inning to give Farmington an early 2-0 lead. The Phoenix pushed that advantage to 5-1 after Hadley Eichmeier's two-run shot.
Farmington looked certain to set up an all-Region 5 final day, but a flurry of base hits in the fourth by West made sure that didn't happen.
LAYTON 5, BINGHAM 3 (9)
Layton took advantage of two ninth-inning errors and eventually held on to beat Bingham in the 6A softball one-loss bracket Wednesday morning at Salt Lake Community College.
Sadee Watkins stole second base in the ninth inning, reached third and then scored on the same error. Tylor Comeau reached on an error that scored a run which made it 5-3.
The teams traded runs in the eighth inning after ending the seventh tied 2-2. Jackie Gold pitched all nine innings for the Lancers and allowed three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
Comeau hit two doubles and Halle Duke drove in one run. Watkins bunted home the first Layton run in the fourth inning. Brooklyn Pritchett brought a run home on a bunt in the fifth and reached on an error.