Lehi junior pitcher Grace Humes would’ve been forgiven if she had begged her offense to come up with a big hit through the early part of Monday’s Region 7 home matchup against Timpanogos.
The Pioneers fell behind by a run in the top of the first and although they tied the game in the bottom of the third on a double steal, Lehi stranded six runners in the first four innings.
Humes, however, said her attention elsewhere.
“I just focused on what I can do,” she said. “That was trying to make sure their batters had weak contact. We started slow but we figured it out.”
There is no arguing that Humes did her job as she scattered five hits and kept the Timberwolves at bay until the Pioneer offense was able to do enough to secure the 4-1 victory.
“Grace was tough as nails to today,” Lehi head coach Tim Kennedy said. “She is pitching really, really well and bringing it right now. You can see her tuning up for state.”
He said he was pleased with how his offense found a way to generate key runs late in the game.
“We started slow and only had the one run in the first four innings,” Kennedy said. “But the girls were able to make some good adjustments. The Timpanogos pitcher was throwing a lot of rise balls but we were able to adjust. Sometimes it takes a little while to figure those things out. It was a well-fought game.”
Timberwolf junior pitcher Emily Hicken was able to work out of some jams early but a big hit by Pioneer senior Myia Ockey scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to give Lehi the lead for good.
The home team added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, with senior Ellie Cram and junior Maci Wall tallying RBI.
Humes was quick to point out that she had a lot of help in keeping Timpanogos to just the one run.
“I felt good but I also had good defense behind me,” she said. “They made some great plays.”
While getting the win was nice — “Timpanogos always plays us tough,” Kennedy said — the most important thing at this point in the season is for the team to be hitting its stride.
“I feel like we have progressed throughout the season,” Humes said. “Playing some pretty tough competition has helped us improve and continue to grow. The key for us is going all out. We just need to play as hard as we can.”
Kennedy noted a few areas where he wants to see his team play better but still said he likes the trajectory his Pioneers are on with the state playoffs just around the corner.
“We had a couple of runners thrown out today, so we need to clean that up,” Kennedy said. “We were really disappointed with our loss at Mountain Ridge last week because we were tied in the Region 7 standings. But with the RPI (ratings percentage index), region doesn’t mean as much. I feel like our pitching is coming around and our hitting has always been good. I’m happy with where we are at. This was a good tune-up, a game with good pitching like we’ll see at state.”
Lehi (16-9-1, 9-2) finished league play at Orem on Thursday, while Timpanogos (8-7, 6-5) hosts Alta on Wednesday.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.