Region 9 softball: Desert Hills defeats Snow Canyon, wins school’s first outright region title

ST. GEORGE — The softball team at Desert Hills High School accomplished one of their major goals Friday night after sweeping Snow Canyon and winning the Region 9 championship.

“Feels great. We’ve been working towards this a lot,” junior catcher Payten Benson told St. George News. “Hard practices, hard work but it pays off.”

Benson put an exclamation point on the Thunder’s 11-0 win Friday night at home when she picked off a runner at second base for the final out of the game.

“We’ve been working on that play for a while now,” Benson said, “and we’ve tried it in a couple of games but it hasn’t gone our way. Really proud of that throw, it was a good one.”

Desert Hills pitcher Lulu West delivers in a Region 9 softball game against Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, April 19, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

As she has all year, sophomore flamethrower Lulu West handled the pitching duties for Desert Hills. She worked five innings, scattered four hits, walked one batter and struck out eight Warriors.

“She works really hard. She puts in a lot of effort in everything she does,” Benson said about her pitcher. “We have a special bond, we’ve been playing with each other for a long time now so it’s fun.”

Desert Hills jumped ahead 2-0 in the first frame, taking advantage of two fielding errors by the Warriors.

Then the Thunder broke it open in the third inning. Riley Greene walked to lead off, then Bailey Lee got aboard with an infield single and stole second base.

After a pop up, Hallee Heath and Jayla Ybright were hit by pitches, loading the bases and then bringing in a run.

Campbell Tate walked, collecting an RBI. Next, Nelyana Brinlagh crushed a double to deep center field that drove in two more Thunder runs.

Snow Canyon pitcher Avery Thorkelson delivers in a Region 9 softball game against Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, April 19, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

West belted a double and drove in another two runs, putting the Thunder ahead comfortably 8-0.

Three more Thunder tallies in the bottom of the fourth provided the final margin.

Snow Canyon’s four hits came from Alyssa Staheli, Alli Beckstrom, Jenny Zapata and Maycee Smith.

Warriors pitcher Avery Thorkelson struck out eight Thunder batters.

Tate led the way for Desert Hills with three RBIs in the win while Brinlagh and West finished with two RBIs apiece. Heath and Ybright each had a solo RBI.

Desert Hills has won 12 games in a row. Thunder coach Heidi Taylor said this is the first Desert Hills team to win the Region 9 title outright (not shared).

“It was a pretty big goal that they set,” Taylor said. “I’m just so proud of them. They work so hard every day. Just to come out and get this feels really good. My heart is just full for them.”

Region 9 softball standings (region, overall) as of April 20:

  1. Desert Hills  10-0, 18-2
  2. Cedar  7-3, 14-7
  3. Snow Canyon  6-4, 15-6
  4. Crimson Cliffs  6-6, 12-10
  5. Hurricane  5-5, 15-7
  6. Dixie  1-9, 6-16
  7. Pine View 1-9, 3-17

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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