In 2015, Brooke Carter was a freshman pitcher at Spanish Fork High, part of a talented Don squad that won the 4A state title.
That was also the year that featured the last win by the UVU softball team over Crosstown Clash rival BYU. On March 21, 2015, the Wolverines blasted past the Cougars, 13-0, in five innings.
BYU went on to win the next 13 contests against UVU over the next six years, including a pair of wins in 2021.
But on Tuesday in Orem, with Carter in the circle for the Wolverines, it was a different story.
UVU jumped out to an early lead and Carter kept the talented Cougar hitters off-balance, scattering four hits and allowing a single run as the Wolverines ended their losing streak with an 8-1 victory.
“It’s BYU and they are our rivals,” Carter said. “It’s always a good game against them. We were pumped and ready the entire game, so it was really fun. The dugout was amazing today and they really helped with our energy, keeping it up at a high level.”
UVU head coach Stacy May-Johnson gave Carter a lot of credit for how she pitched for the Wolverines.
“She was unbelievable,” May-Johnson said. “They have some really good hitters in that lineup and she made them really uncomfortable. She got a lot of swing-and-misses from good hitters. You could tell she was rolling early on and then as they started to adjust to her, she just hung on and the defense came up with a couple of plays later on to keep it to keep score down.”
Carter had seven strikeouts but also had the advantage of playing in front virtually the entire contest. That was thanks in large part to Wolverine freshman second baseman Kyla Hardy.
“Kyla Hardy was great, getting two home runs,” May-Johnson said. “We got a bunch of quality at-bats from the middle of our lineup. They were really, really good tonight.”
After UVU got an early lead on an RBI single from junior third baseman Siena Sandoval, Hardy came up to the plate with two runners on base and two outs.
“Seeing runners on base, you always just want to poke one through,” Hardy said. “That’s my mindset at least because I don’t see myself as a power hitter. My goal is just to get an RBI, but I just got ahold of one. It was actually kind of up and I thought it was a pop up. I guess the wind just kept taking it.”
When she hammered another ball high into the air two innings later in an similar situation (two on, one out), she was more confident in the outcome.
“That one actually felt like a home run,” Hardy said “I felt like the ball got deep and I really sat on it. I was seeing that pitcher well and just did what I could with it.”
Her six RBI propelled the Wolverines to an 8-0 lead and UVU was just two outs from ending the game in five innings. That was when the Cougars got their only run, however, as left fielder Rylee Jensen hit a solo home run.
With a team as talented as BYU, that could’ve sparked a big rally — but Carter and the Wolverines weren’t going to let that happen
“My teammates helped me a lot,” Carter said. “They were just like, ‘it’s okay, you got it.’ It really just helped me to calm down and be like, it’s fine, we still have a lot of game left and I can do it. My teammates are awesome. They really are the ones that get me through all this stuff.”
Carter said she was thrilled to be able to put together one of her best showings of the season.
“It just feels like I’m finally back,” Carter said. “It’s awesome to have a performance like that. You know it’s not gonna be like that every game but it’s fun when you do. Softball is a game of failure so it’s cool when you do stuff the right way.”
Hardy said she hopes the big win will propel the Wolverines to greater heights in the coming weeks.
“I feel like this was a pivotal moment for us, to be honest,” Hardy said. “I feel like we’re just gonna keep rolling with this momentum.”
May-Johnson said the key for the Wolverines is to continue to have excellent pitching, like what Carter was able to do on Tuesday.
“We need outings like that for Brooke Carter,” May-Johnson said. “Senior Devyn Cretz is going to do what she’s been doing all year and then we’re going to have quality defense behind all of our pitchers. I really truly believe that if our pitching gets rolling, then we’re in good shape.”
UVU (20-22) returns to WAC action when it plays at New Mexico State on April 30 in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. MT.
BYU (27-14) will play at Loyola Marymount in WCC action on the same day with a 3 p.m. MT start.