Skyridge, Pleasant Grove softball see solid seasons end in 6A playoffs
Both the Pleasant Grove and Skyridge softball teams knew they needed to play their best to have a shot against powerhouses like top-seeded Riverton and No. 2-seed Herriman.
And both teams did just that in 6A elimination games at the Cottonwood Complex in Murray on Wednesday — for the first few innings.
Unfortunately for the Falcons and Vikings, the Silverwolves and Mustangs got some big plays to pull away and knock Skyridge and Pleasant Grove out of the tournament.
The Falcons, who were the No. 3 seed, made the deepest run.
Skyridge reached the semifinals for the second straight year by defeating Farmington, 8-3, in the first game of the day.
After the Falcons built an early lead, the Phoenix chipped away and made the score 4-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
That was when Skyridge’s Grace Beck smashed a game-changing three-run home run that gave the Falcons the cushion they needed to advance.
The victory set up a rematch with Herriman, who handled Skyridge in their first meeting.
This time Skyridge hung tough and it was a 1-1 tie going into the bottom of the fourth. That was when the Mustangs exploded for six runs and never looked back, securing the 9-1 victory to reach the 6A title game.
“They have great hitters and they have a great pitcher,” Falcon head coach Tyler Plewe said. “They have everything it takes to go all the way. We knew that we had to have our absolute best game to go have a chance — and we did for about four innings. Then they just got it going.”
He said his message to his Skyridge team after the game was that even though it didn’t reach every goal, it had tremendous success.
“We got back to the same point we got to last year and we had hoped to go at least one step further,” Plewe said. “We thought we had a good chance but we had to put all the pieces together.”
He couldn’t keep from feeling some strong emotions as he talked about his the Falcons had a treasure box where they kept things that meant a lot to them.
“The message was to treasure each moment and I think we did that,” Plewe said. “We got as far as we possibly could. We scratched and clawed to get here. This group created a great culture in the dugout and off the field as well. I couldn’t be happier with the way they led and I have no doubt they will be great leaders in whatever they decide to do.”
It turned out to be a similar story for Pleasant Grove (the No. 5-seed) against Riverton.
The Silverwolves had crushed the Vikings in a non-league game earlier in the month but this time the Vikings were ready for the challenge.
Pleasant Grove trailed in the first few innings but plated two runs in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4.
The Vikings had some other opportunities to go in front but it was Riverton who got the big hits, exploding for seven runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to get the 14-4 win.
“We loaded the bases with less that two outs several times but we just didn’t get those big hits we needed,” Pleasant Grove head coach Leslie Young said. “Those are the things that would’ve changed the game. But hats off to Riverton. They are a great team.”
She was proud of how her girls brought tremendous energy and stayed mentally focused in every game.
“We really enjoyed all the wins and we’ll learn from the losses,” Young said. “There was a lot of grit on this team.”
She is looking forward to seeing her underclassmen get to work in the offseason and come back even better in 2024.
“At this point we are pretty young,” Young said. “We’ll have a lot of sophomores who will come back to make a strong junior class. I expect them to come back stronger for next season.”
No. 4-seed Bingham eliminated Riverton in the other semifinal, meaning the Miners will face Herriman in the best-of-three 6A championship at BYU’s Miller Field starting on Thursday.