When the Springville softball team looks back on the 2019 season, the Red Devils won’t recall the squad that lost five of its first six games or was just a .500 team in April.
No, Springville will remember becoming a confident group of athletes who started making the key plays regularly, a squad that bounced back from losing a tough game in the first round of the 5A playoffs to make a deep run through the elimination bracket.
But the Red Devils finally had a game where they couldn’t quite get enough bounces to go their way.
The result was Wednesday’s tense 4-3 loss to Farmington at the Valley Softball Complex in Taylorsville, ending the season for Springville.
“I’m proud of their fight,” Red Devil head coach Jill Thackeray said. “They had to fight through lightning delays and rain delays but they were always able to come back and roll with those punches. This was a different team than we were at the first game of the season.”
Springville played another solid game in its final contest, out-hitting the Phoenix (7-3) and getting more runners on base.
But Farmington made a couple of great throws to get Red Devil base runners out and also capitalized when Springville left the door open.
The big play for the Phoenix came in the bottom of the fourth inning when they trailed 2-1 after the Red Devils had easily gotten the first two Farmington batters out.
But a soft pop fly in the infield found a gap and spun away from the fielder to keep the inning going for the Phoenix, then another hit dropped just barely in front of the charging Springville center fielder.
Either of those plays could’ve ended the frame but since it didn’t, Farmington’s Morgan Tanner made the most of the opportunity. She hammered the ball over the fence for a three-run homer, giving the Phoenix the lead for good.
“We always say it is a game of inches,” Thackeray said. “We had a couple of things that didn’t go our way today like they did in the last few games. Credit Farmington because their team played well.”
Springville tried to rally, getting a run back in the top of the sixth inning and putting the tying run in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Red Devils couldn’t find that one more big play and the Phoenix got the close win.
Thackeray would’ve loved to see the ride continue but said the growth of the team throughout the season was something she treasured.
“Seeing them improve from the beginning to now was something special and fun to be a part of,” she said. “We had some ups and downs but I love the fight they had. They were always willing to put forth the effort and knew what they were capable of doing. They pushed themselves and rose to the occasion.”
She said the senior leaders on the team deserve a lot of credit for those accomplishments.
“I love these seniors,” Thackeray said. “I’m so proud of everything they have done for our program. They’ve been around for four years and maintained the standard of Springville softball. They will be missed.”
Now the hope is the underclassmen will take up that responsibility and continue to build on the successes of 2019.
“I’m excited for the future,” Thackeray said. “They’ve been here now and I hope it serves as motivation to get back and continue to work hard. I have no doubt that they are going to put in the work to be ready for next year.”
Farmington ended up losing to West in the next 5A elimination game on Wednesday, as the Panthers advanced to play Roy for the right to face Bountiful in the 5A state championship.
The final 5A state softball games are scheduled to take place at Valley Softball Complex in Taylorsville on Thursday. Go to http://UHSAA.org for complete details.