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Spanish Fork softball on repeat mission, beats Lehi in 5A finals Game 1

By Jared Lloyd - | May 26, 2022
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Spanish Fork second baseman Tatum Hall tags out a Lehi runner during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork pitcher Avery Sapp throws a pitch during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork designated player Alyce Archuleta hits the ball during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork players cheer on their team during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork first baseman Kiley Mitchell records an out during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork second baseman Tatum Hall bunts the ball during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Lehi pitcher Emerson Fuller throws a pitch during the first game of the 5A championship series against Spanish Fork at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Lehi shortstop Maci Wall celebrates getting a hit during the first game of the 5A championship series against Spanish Fork at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Spanish Fork pitcher Avery Sapp hits the ball during the first game of the 5A championship series against Lehi at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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A Lehi outfielder makes a catch during the first game of the 5A championship series against Spanish Fork at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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A Lehi batter hits the ball during the first game of the 5A championship series against Spanish Fork at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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Lehi head coach Tim Kennedy talks to his players during the first game of the 5A championship series against Spanish Fork at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Every year the Spanish Fork softball team selects a theme, then enjoys flushing it out with costumes, props and sayings.

Don head coach Natalie Jarvis said that the theme for 2022 might not immediately make sense unless you understand the context.

“It’s goldfish,” Jarvis said. “The goldfish is the happiest fish because it has the shortest memory span. So if you do something wrong, you put on the goldfish necklace and forget about it.”

Spanish Fork didn’t need that mentality very much during the first game of the 5A state championship at Gail Miller Field at BYU on Thursday — since the Dons didn’t do many things wrong.

The No. 1 seed dominated in all aspects of the game as Spanish Fork blasted past No. 5-seed Lehi, 15-2, in five innings to take Game 1.

“I think we just showed up to play and we showed up to hit the ball,” Jarvis said. “We scored in every inning and our players adjusted very well to the other pitcher very well. There were no hiccups at all, no nerves. I’m excited for them. They came to play, they came to win and it was fun being here.”

Spanish Fork senior catcher Ashlyn Losee said she felt like her team showed it was confident from the beginning.

“We played some really good teams early on and that prepared us to face Lehi, who is a really good team,” Losee said. “We have a really great team as well. I think those games gave us a foot up and we were ready.”

The only moment when the game seemed in the balance was after the top of the second inning.

The Dons had scored two runs in the bottom of the first but the Pioneers had rallied with a run on a double steal to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was the first time Spanish Fork had allowed a run in four games this week.

“I was pumped just to get that and just to get a score because we just were trying to figure out a way to keep their momentum down,” Pioneer head coach Tim Kennedy said. “We’re just scratching for anything we can get.”

But Spanish Fork roared back with six runs in the bottom of the second — sparked by a two-run RBI double by freshman Jade Romero — and never looked back as they cruised to the win.

“That was a huge inning,” Losee said. “I could tell like the demeanor just kind of changed. It went from, ‘yeah, we’re winning’ to ‘oh, yeah, we’re winning!’ There was just a completely different feel.”

One factor that helped the Dons be so comfortable in the championship is that they have been there before, having won the title in 2021.

“I think they know what to expect,” Jarvis said. “I think it’s just a learned behavior for the younger ones. They’re kind of riding on the coattails of the older players know what is expected of them and where they need to be. I don’t really do much there. I don’t have to and that is nice.”

Losee said she believes having a theme helps team cohesion and provides avenues for everyone to be involved.

“I think it just brings the fun back into back into the game,” Losee said. “It gives something the girls who aren’t playing a little bit more to be a part of things, like something they can wear in the dugout and stuff like that. I think it just makes the game even that much more fun honestly. And with the team chemistry, we just all get along so well, it makes things that much more enjoyable.”

Lehi also has its own theme for the year and Kennedy feels like it is particularly applicable as his team looks to rebound from the defeat.

“Our theme this year is ‘Be where your feet are,'” Kennedy said. “I have a shirt with that logo and I’ll wear it tomorrow. It means that today is already behind us and that we’re going to focus on tomorrow, on every pitch, every ground ball every fly ball. It’s about not getting ahead of ourselves and starting over. We’ve talked about that almost every practice and every game, so the girls should be ready.”

The Pioneers will need to defeat Spanish Fork twice to win the title, while the Dons only need one victory to finish off the best-of-three series.

Game 2 is scheduled to take place at Gail Miller Field at BYU at 11 a.m. on Friday. If Game 3 is necessary, it is slated to be played at 4 p.m. that afternoon.

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