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Pleasant Grove leads the way Utah Valley 6A softball with two wins before getting eliminated

May 26, 2019

It’s been a long week for all of the 5A and 6A softball teams who made it to this point in their respective state tournaments.

Frequent heavy rains washed out game after game on almost every day this week while the teams tried to stay ready for when they actually got to take the field.

“It’s been mentally get ready to play — then drive home,” Pleasant Grove head coach Leslie Young said. “We’ve just had to be on standby, but the girls have managed it well.”

The 6A tournament resumed Saturday with the Vikings and Westlake finally being able to compete in the elimination rounds at Clearfield and Layton High Schools.

Both teams had to battle in the first games of the day but emerged with one-run victories, setting up a showdown between the Thunder and Pleasant Grove to keep their seasons alive.

In the featured matchup, the Vikings jumped out early and scored three important runs in the bottom of the first inning to take control.

“Their pitcher, Halle Carpenter is a good pitcher but we hit the ball well,” Young said.

Pleasant Grove tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth but Westlake was just close enough to be dangerous as the Thunder got a run in the top of the fifth and a run in the top of the sixth.

“Teams hit the ball at this level and we have to make sure we make routine plays,” Westlake head coach Chad Carpenter said. “But we’re coming along.”

In the end, however, the Viking pitching and defense was just too stout for the Thunder to make a big comeback and Pleasant Grove secured the 6-2 win.

“I’m definitely proud of the team today,” Young said. “They turned it on. They are playing with a lot of confidence.”

The victory meant the Vikings advanced to face Bingham in the final game of the day.

Pleasant Grove kept playing well but in the end the Miners proved to be too much, getting the 4-1 win and eliminating the Vikings.

Pleasant Grove didn’t have an easy go of it in the first game of the day as it took on Davis.

The Vikings led 4-1 heading into the seventh inning but the Darts rallied with five runs to take the lead.

Being just three outs from elimination, Young said she told her team that it would depend on how it responded to that adversity.

“We had an opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning to lay down or to answer back,” Young said. “Our first four or five batters all answered back. We didn’t have a single out. The girls stayed together and stepped into the batter’s box planning to win — and they did it.”

Pleasant Grove got the walkoff on a Davis error to win, 6-5.

Westlake went the other direction in their first game as they built a 9-0 advantage over Taylorsville, thanks in large part to a grand slam by freshman Brooklyn Gramse.

The Thunder were unable to put the game away and the Warriors kept creeping closer until they narrowed the gap to a single run in the final inning.

But Westlake managed to hold on to get the 9-8 win and advance to face Pleasant Grove.

“It’s been a year-long thing for us where we haven’t been able to finish off opponents,” Carpenter said. “It’s something we’re learning.”

That set the stage for the all-Region 4 matchup, which the Vikings won.

Although Pleasant Grove would have loved to have a survived compete in the next round on Tuesday. Young was proud of what her team accomplished in 2019.

“I put together a tough schedule this year and we won some and lost some,” Young said. “All of that was mental preparation for this. Brighton Fenton has had a heck of a year and was named the MVP for the region. She carried us in the circle but offensively we’ve had a lot of strong players.”

Carpenter also had every reason to be pleased with the experience his young Thunder squad got.

“Westlake has averaged five or six wins a year and this year we won 19 games,” Carpenter said. “I’m so proud of these girls. We are young but they are building a program.”

The only Region 4 team still in the tournament is Bingham, which will face Layton in the next elimination game on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Valley Complex in Taylorsville.

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