LAYTON — The sun was out, the field was as dry as it had been in a week, Layton and Fremont were ready to play softball and to top it off, they came into Wednesday's meeting tied for first place in Region 1.
It was about as perfect of a spring day as one could get for the Lancers until the Silver Wolves scored four runs in the first two innings and looked for all the world like they were going to run away with a big win.
The thing about the Layton softball team this year is its wins don't come easy and it usually takes awhile for the Lancers to get rolling, despite how talented their lineup is.
Last week's dramatic, walk-off win over Syracuse proved as much. Wednesday's first-place clash with Fremont further cemented it.
After trailing 4-0 early, Layton got two massive base hits from Maci Harrop to tie the game in the fifth inning and Brooklyn Pritchett to give the Lancers the lead in the sixth as they beat Fremont 8-4 at home to take over sole possession of first place in Region 1.
Pritchett, a sophomore, said she's always been a switch hitter who primarily hit right-handed, but switched to hitting left-handed this year to help the team out. She had been struggling lately but working through it with coaches.
Her three-run triple might be considered a reward.
"I've been kind of rolling over (the ball) a bit, but (assistant coach) John (Mortensen) has been telling us that pressure is a privilege and that it's time to step up," Pritchett said.
Fremont (10-5, 4-1 Region 1) has been the surprise team of Region 1, though it's not so much of a surprise when considering the team's talent. Hunter Pales and Kynlee Hoggan are planning to play college softball next year.
Add a coach like Mandy Koford into the equation and it's really no surprise the Silver Wolves were tied with Layton at 4-0 in first place before Wednesday.
"I think when we jumped on them early, we got a little complacent. I think we can learn a lot through this and I still have a lot of confidence in my team and Layton's obviously got a very good team and it's going be a fun Round 2," Koford said.
3-run extra base knock for Brooklyn Pritchett. It's 7-4, Layton pic.twitter.com/5vaoSd21fz— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) April 17, 2019
Fremont picked up an early 3-0 lead in the first inning off RBI singles by Stalee Hadley and Cortney Rhees, plus a sacrifice fly by Jadie Aiken that rattled Lancers pitcher Jackie Gold.
In the second, Alexis Vigil and Rylie Bennett hit back-to-back doubles that made it 4-0. It could very easily have been 5-0 or 6-0, but Lancer right fielder Sadee Watkins caught a line drive and then threw out Bennett at home for an inning-ending double play.
"They're focused, they've worked hard all fall after coming so close last year. They know what they want and where they're going, and they don't quit. They know the bats are there and we're strong one through nine. I don't panic, I don't worry," Layton head coach Kiley Crockett said.
In the first four innings, Layton (10-2, 5-0) either went down in order or would get their first two batters on base and then strand them there. They managed a sacrifice fly in the second to get on the board, but Layton made its big move in the fifth inning.
Aubree Morrow, playing third base for Fremont, had earlier made a spectacular diving play to catch a Pritchett bunt attempt for an out.
Then Leah Knight roped an RBI single right under Morrow's glove at third base. Two batters later, Harrop hit a two-run, two-out double to right field to tie the game 4-4.
We head to the top of the 6th tied at 4. pic.twitter.com/fqaVLyE0u5— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) April 17, 2019
"After we tied it up, then everyone just said, 'Hey I'm going to pick you up, I'm going to do my job,' and once we all decided to do it for each other, we started getting the bats going," Pritchett said.
Fremont didn't get a whole lot going on offense after the second inning once Gold settled in. Layton took full advantage when Pritchett cleared the bases in the sixth with her triple to right field that was a few feet away from a grand slam.
On the next at-bat, Knight grounded out to first base and gave Pritchett enough time to sprint home, score and be mobbed by her teammates in the dugout.