ST. GEORGE — It had been a long time since Desert Hills had won a Region 9 softball game. Nearly three years, in fact.
Barlow allowed just one run over the game’s final four innings and Hamblin had a go-ahead two-run triple to lead Desert Hills to the win.
“These girls have worked very hard,” Desert Hills coach Brady Fonnesbeck said. “A lot of it is just experience, too. Last year was my first year and we were very young. But we’ve also put in a lot of time in the offseason and we have this little fall league we’re doing now down here. But I’m just really proud of how hard these girls have worked.”
For the record, D-Hills was 0-12 in 2012 and 0-12 in 2013. The Thunder’s last region win was April 12, 2011.
This one certainly wasn’t easy. In fact, it started out as a shootout. Dixie opened with a 4-2 lead in the first inning after a rally that included a two-run homer by Summer Simkins. Barlow and Mica Betts had hits to help Desert Hills tie it at 4-4 in top of the second, but Dixie regained the lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Stacia Gelter that scored Shawna Gelter.
DH tied it again in the third with an RBI by Shelby Reynolds, but again Dixie surged ahead with a two-run rally in the bottom of the inning. Jayla Stratton and Ayrene Lara had RBI singles to make it 7-5 after three innings.
Desert Hills tied the game in the fourth as Dallas Coil ripped a shot up the middle for a two-run single to make it 7-7.
“It looked like it was going to be a 20-19 game there for awhile,” Fonnesbeck said. “Barlow did a great job of settling down. She got tougher as the game went along. She doesn’t throw real hard, but when she hits her spots, she is tough.”
Barlow started hitting those spots and really settled down. Believe it or not, it became a bit of a pitcher’s duel for the rest of the game. The Lady Thunder took the lead on Hamblin’s two-run triple down the right field line with two outs in the fifth to make it 9-7, but they would not score again off of Simkins. Meanwhile, Barlow allowed just one hit in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings combined.
Dixie’s last chance came in the seventh as Shelby Holt led off with a triple. She scored moments later on a DH error that left Flyer Gwen Tagliarino at second base with no one out. But Barlow bore down and got a strike out, a walk, a ground out and another strike out to end the game and secure the Thunder’s first region win in 35 months.
Desert Hills, 5-3 overall and 1-0 in region, plays in northern Utah this weekend (Kearns Friday and Wasatch Saturday) before returning to league play next Tuesday vs. Cedar at DH.
Dixie, 4-8 and 0-1, plays at Hurricane Friday afternoon.
Snow Canyon 5, Canyon View 3
The defending-champion Lady Warriors started region off right with a road win Tuesday afternoon. Heather Prestwich got the win in the wind, while Madison Mooring tripled and Lauren Smith doubled for Snow Canyon.
Snow Canyon never trailed in the game, although the Falcons tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the first and made it 4-3 in the bottom of the third. SC added a key insurance run in the top of the sixth and held on for the victory to go to 5-2 overall on the season.
Snow Canyon is home to face Pine View Friday afternoon and then Hurricane next Tuesday.
Canyon View, 5-3 and 0-1, got a home run from Jaycee Slack. The Falcons are at Cedar Friday afternoon.
Hurricane 2, Pine View 12
The Panthers came out of the gates strong on Tuesday with a two-run opening inning and never looked back. Hurricane rallied with a run in each the second and third inning, but ultimately those two runs were the only players to hit home plate.
Addison Horspool picked up a double, while taking her team to the region win.
Next up, Hurricane will host Lincoln County on Wednesday at 4 p.m., while Pine View will travel to Snow Canyon on Friday at 4 p.m.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.