ST. GEORGE — Despite a rare off-game by its ace pitcher, defending champion Cedar High overcame an outstanding performance by Pine View Tuesday to remain undefeated in Region 9 play with an 8-4 win over the Lady Panthers.
The visiting Lady Reds were clinging to a 5-4 lead heading into the top of the seventh when Becca Boyer, batting for the first time in the game, drove the first pitch of the inning over the left-field fence. Cedar added two more runs on a pair of singles, an error and an RBI double.
Kenzie Waters, pitching in relief of starter Bryton Holyoak, surrendered a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but the Panthers could not rally.
Despite the disappointing loss and despite having just one region win at the halfway point of the season, Pine View assistant coach Russ Neilson was in a positive frame of mind after the game.
“We told our girls last night we wanted to come up the seventh inning with a chance,” he said. “The girls played real good, they didn’t fold , they played good defense. Cedar’s good, we know they’re good. We did what we had to do, but, well, Cedar’s good.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way we played. It’s how we can play.”
Cedar’s Holyoak, the reigning region co-MVP who was undefeated in region games last year and thus far this season, struggled with her control. In the bottom of the first inning, with a runner on first via a single, she hit a batter in the back of the helmet then walked the next two, the second of which forced in the Panthers’ first run. Kylie Donovan followed with an RBI single to give her team a 2-1 lead.
Cedar was led by the other reigning co-MVP, Dream Weaver, who had four hits, three RBI and scored two runs.
Weaver got the Lady Reds started in the first inning with a one-out home run to center field.
After Pine View had taken the lead in the bottom of the first, the Lady Reds went back on top 3-2 in the third when Allie Meisner and Weaver stroked one-out singles and Denim Henkel drove them home with a double to center.
In the bottom of the inning, Holyoak walked the first two batters, who both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. But she retired the next three batters to stifle the threat.
Cedar got on the board again in the fourth when Weaver lined a two-out, two-run single to center to score Shaun Bauman and Abby Anderson, who had reached on consecutive singles.
Pine View responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Holyoak walked Marquelle Jennings to lead off the inning then walked the next batter. Jennings advanced to third on a couple of wild pitches then scored on a fielder’s choice to pull the Panthers to within 5-3. The Lady Reds got out of the inning when Weaver at shortstop scooped up a ground ball, stepped on second and threw to first for the double play.
Waters took the mound for Cedar to start the bottom of the fifth and gave up consecutive two-out singles, but first baseman Pua Johnson, who was holding the runner on first, was able to snag a hot shot down the line and step on the bag to end the threat.
Pine View closed the gap to 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth when Jennings reached on a Cedar error. Hannah James sacrificed her to second and one out later Sydnee McArthur plated her with a single to right.
But any thoughts of a dramatic rally in the seventh were pretty much snuffed out by the Lady Reds’ three-run burst in the top of the inning.
Still, Neilson is optimistic looking forward.
“That fourth spot (in the region standings) is wide open, but we have to win. We have to beat the teams that beat us. We don’t have to win every one, but we have to win the majority to go to state, which is still our goal.”
Both teams return to action April 13 when Cedar hosts Dixie and Pine View hosts Snow Canyon.
In other Region 9 results from Tuesday, Snow Canyon blew by Hurricane and Desert Hills thundered over Canyon View.
Region 9 standings (region, overall)
Cedar 6-0, 12-5
Desert Hills 5-1, 14-3
Snow Canyon 4-2, 11-6
Canyon View 2-3, 3-6
Hurricane 2-3, 9-4
Pine View 1-5, 6-10
Dixie 0-6, 1-13
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