LAYTON — Through six innings Thursday, it was the same old sad song that has played out this season for the Syracuse softball team.
The Titans were close, they were in the game, but they just couldn’t get the key hit when they needed it.
They had left eight runners on base — twice on third with only one out — but still trailed 2-0 heading into their final at-bat. Then for one shining moment, Syracuse found its swagger.
The Titans scored four runs on the top of the seventh and it was enough to take down Layton in a 4-2 comeback Region 1 victory.
“(Coach) Kelly (Anderson) told us you have been going hit, out, out, hit, out,” Syracuse shortstop Megan Poll said. “You guys need to go hit, hit, hit and just go through the lineup; you can do it.”
With all of the missed chances and stranded runners to that point, it took a massive change in mindset to turn the tables and the Titans took Anderson’s message to heart.
“Everything we were hitting was going straight to them; we all got it in our heads that we can hit, that we’re going to find the gaps,” Poll said.
Sophomores Erin Anderson and Kenlie Cowdin got things started for the Titans (5-5, 4-4 Region 1) in the seventh with back-to-back singles.
Poll brought them both home with a towering double off the centerfield fence and scored what proved to be the winning run when Rachel Godfrey bounced a grounder that kicked off the third base bag.
Pitcher Abby Sims added the fourth Syracuse run with a one-out single to right for a little insurance.
Sims pitched a complete game, striking out eight, scattering six hits while walking one. She matched Layton hurler Haedyn Ellington with zeros through the first four innings before Layton plated a run in the fifth.
Brooklyn Pritchett smashed a liner that Sims knocked down, but Pritchett beat the throw to first and Layton led 1-0.
The Lancers (7-4, 5-2) added a second run in the sixth on a groundout by Leah Knight that looked at the time like it would be all they needed as Ellington continued her Houdini act, getting out of one jam after another.
But Syracuse had one last at-bat, and finally solved the mystery with the big inning.
“I had confidence we could come back. I just had to hold them to a low number, because you gotta score to win,” Sims said. “I was just trying to pitch ground balls for my team and get easy outs; It’s not a one-man game.”
Layton played a long three-hour, extra-inning game against Weber on Tuesday in freezing cold weather with wind and was unable to fight out another tough win on a cloudy day.
“We got a little tight in the seventh, but they were hitting and we missed some 0-2 counts that we could have been better on,” Layton coach Kiley Crockett said. “This region is such a grinder.”
“All Kelly (Anderson) needs to do is hit, he’s going to win games. He’s the best 4-5 team in the state. Look at the top teams in Region 1 — Fremont, Weber, Clearfield — he had one-run games with all of them,” Crockett said. “All the teams above Kelly have scored a lot more runs; he just needs to break through.”