ST. GEORGE – She can’t throw the ball 90 miles an hour like her older brother Riley or hit a ball 400 feet like her older brother Reggie, but there’s no doubt Skylar Gates is a bona fide star, just like her siblings.
The sophomore softball slugger, who can’t weight more than 100 pounds, slugged a grand slam and teammate McKenzee Langston had a two-run double as the Snow Canyon Lady Warriors beat Canyon View 6-5 Tuesday afternoon.
Gates round-tripper came in the bottom of the first inning with two outs and a full count and changed a 1-0 Snow Canyon deficit into a 4-1 Warriors lead.
“I like to work deep into counts,” she said. “I just see the ball better. It helps me focus, especially when there are two strikes.”
Gates also said she wasn’t sure if she got enough of the ball for it to carry over the fence.
“I was just trying to make contact and protect the plate,” she said. When I hit it, I just just ran hard, watching the ball and watching the coach. And then it went over the fence.”
A mighty cheer arose from the Warriors faithful, many of whom had yet to settle into their seats. Coach Brandyn Sargent said it was one of the better efforts she had seen at the plate this season.
“Now that’s what I call a quality at-bat,” she said. “She worked the count, fouled a couple of balls off. She battled up there and finally drove one.”
Even with the early lead, the Warriors knew they had a long way to go.
“They’re the best hitting team in the region, no doubt,” Sargent said. “For some reason, people tend to overlook them, but they are very good.”
The Lady Falcons did battle, pulling to within 4-3 in the third inning on RBIs by Kenzie Sawyer and Jaycee Slack.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the fifth. Mitzi Gates (Skylar’s cousin) led off the half-inning and reached on a Canyon View error. Two outs later, Skylar Gates drew a four-pitch walk. Langston then ripped a double to right field, scoring the Gates cousins and making it 6-3.
“We kind of knew that four runs was not going to be enough to win the game,” Langston said. “I was just trying to focus and make a play. We’ve been working hard and had a real good practice yesterday.”
The two insurance runs proved to be invaluable as Canyon View scored as pair themselves in the sixth on RBIs by Josie Platt and Sawyer. But Snow Canyon pitcher Brytni Gurney induced a groundout with two on and two down to retire the side in the sixth with a 6-5 lead still intact. Gurney then retired Canyon View in order in the seventh to preserve the win.
“Canyon View’s a very good team,” Skylar Gates said. “They obviously bring it with the bats. We knew this was going to be a battle.”
The victory all but clinches the region title for Snow Canyon, which is an amazing 15-0 overall and 8-0 in region. The Lady Warriors have already beaten the next two contenders in region, Canyon View and Pine View, twice.
The Falcons, 8-9 overall and 4-3 in region, got extra-base hits in the game from Sawyer, Platt and Kenzii Redd. CV plays at home Friday vs. Cedar.
The game was dubbed the “SCHS Play and Pray,” event and pink uniforms were worn by the Warriors as a show of support for two families, the Gurneys and the Shakespeares, who undergoing some serious life challenges.
Canyon View did not have pink uniforms, but many of the Falcons players also showed support with pink socks or pink ribbons.
Dixie 17, Desert Hills 0
The Lady Flyers broke their three-game losing streak by blasting DH, with nine of the runs coming in the first inning. The mercy-rule shortened game saw Dixie pound out 15 hits and take advantage four DH errors.
Britton Leavitt had two doubles and Krista DeKorver got the win for the Flyers, who play at home vs. Pine View Friday. Dixie is 10-7 overall and 3-5 in region.
Desert Hills, 1-13 and 0-8, is off Friday and plays at Pine View next Tuesday.
Pine View vs. Hurricane (postponed)
Inclement weather forces a make-up game to be played Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.