Just how dominant has the Spanish Fork softball program been in the last 15 years?
The Dons won 12 straight region championships (2007-18) and had not lost more than a single game to a league opponent since 2006 — and Spanish Fork has been in some excellent softball regions during that time.
But 2019 presented some challenges for the Dons and it showed as injuries, moves and inexperience all took a toll.
At the end of April, when teams hope to be peaking, Spanish Fork was struggling.
The Dons lost, 9-5, at Uintah on April 30 then was defeated in a non-region game, 10-0 in five innings, at Wasatch. After a pair of wins over Orem and Mountain View, Spanish Fork closed out the regular season with a loss at Lehi on May 9.
Combined with the fact that the 4A classification was loaded with talent this season, the Dons looked to be in trouble.
After a solid 7-0 opening round win over Ridgeline, Spanish Fork played well but was defeated, 4-0, at Tooele. Suddenly the Dons faced a long, treacherous road needing to be perfect to even reach the finals.
Spanish Fork head coach Don Andrews said he told his team that it was luckier than the Buffaloes, since it would get to play twice as many games.
What happened starting on Thursday in the final rounds of the 4A tournament was nothing short of amazing.
First up was a tight struggle against Payson where the Dons had to get senior Marae Condie to drive in senior Briley Young to get the only run in the 1-0 victory.
Spanish Fork had no time to catch its breath as it immediately took on Mountain Crest — and fell behind 3-0 in the first inning.
But again the Dons had the answer, outscoring the Mustangs 6-1 down the stretch to keep their season alive.
After blasting past Snow Canyon, 10-3, Spanish Fork again faced Ridgeline and needed a home-run-stealing catch by Condie and some big outs in the seventh inning to defeat the Riverhawks, 5-1.
That set the stage for the Dons to be part of a wonderfully wacky Saturday for Utah Valley high school athletes as they won two heart-stopping games and pushed Tooele to the brink before losing 3-1 in the final game.
How did Spanish Fork rally after struggling?
“In March, we were a good team but in April we were a terrible team,” Andrews said Saturday. “That kind of bled over to May. You’ve got to hand it to the girls. They could’ve folded but they didn’t. We had some tough games, games we could’ve lost easily. I don’t know how we won them. It was nice to see them come together no matter what had been going on.”
Young said she was very proud of how the Don seniors stood tall.
“They really stepped up this weekend,” Young said. “They really did good. It’s been fun playing with every one of them. I love them all like sisters. We figured out what we needed to do and worked really hard in practice. We really came together as a team.”
The impressive Spanish Fork performance was one of many great storylines for Utah Valley athletes at state competitions on Saturday.
Here’s a look at a couple of other noteworthy accomplishments:
Lone Peak wins two more titles
With the Knights dominating the 6A state boys tennis tournament and crushing the field in 6A girls track, Lone Peak added two more state championships on Saturday to their staggering collection from 2018-19.
The Knights have now brought home the first-trophy in nine different sports during this school year, starting with titles in boys golf, girls tennis, girls soccer, volleyball and football in the fall, added a boys swimming championship in winter, then also got the crown in girls golf, boys tennis and girls track and field in the spring.
Lone Peak could still add one more title as the Knight baseball team is still in the championship bracket of the 6A playoffs.
It’s the little things
Can you imagine being Provo athletes senior Ally Gomm, sophomore Sophia Luke or sophomore Sadie Edwards?
With Bulldog superstar Meghan Hunter dominating the track during the 5A state girls meet at BYU on Saturday, it might have been easy for others who weren’t winning races to not feel like they were really contributing much.
Gomm ran the 400-meter finals in 58.12 to get sixth, a full second in front of Wasatch junior Sydney Hales. Edwards was right behind Hales, finishing in 59.26 in eighth place, just 0.21 seconds in front of Timpview junior Shelby Andrewsen.
Luke ended up tying with nine other athletes in the high jump by clearing the bar at 4-foot-9. Since she was one of four girls to clear that height on her first jump, she ended up officially tied for sixth instead of off the podium.
Those efforts resulted in Gomm adding three points, Edwards adding one point and Luke adding 1.5 points to the Bulldog total — which normally might not seem that significant.
But since Provo edged Farmington but just 0.5 points (55.5-55) to win the 5A state title, every single point took on tremendous significance.