Mustangs seize second softball championship
Jul 03, 2019 02:48PM
● By Greg James
The Mustangs celebrate with the state championship trophy after defeating Layton 9-3 in the championship game. (Photo courtesy of Heidi McKissick/Herriman softball)
By Greg James | [email protected]
There were no easy games on the road to a second-straight state championship for the Herriman softball team. Rain forced delays and stretched its search for a title over three long weeks.
“All of the hard work has paid off,” Mustangs head coach Heidi McKissick said. “We are building a legacy at Herriman. Getting a taste of the championship last season helped us to know what to do.”
The Mustangs defeated Layton in the championship game 9-3. The game was held at Salt Lake Community College after a crazy tournament full of delays and cancellations.
A weeklong storm forced the cancelation of four days’ worth of games and forced the Utah High School Activities Association to move games from its traditional Valley Softball Complex in Taylorsville. The rain-soaked fields were unable to be made playable.
Despite the change of venue and hectic rescheduling, Herriman stayed on track.
The Mustangs advanced to the semifinals with tournament wins over Davis, Kearns and Bingham. Against the Miners, they turned into a marathon-type game lasting nearly three and a half hours and nine innings. The Mustangs eventually scored six runs in the top of the ninth and held on for the victory. The win advanced them to match up with region rival Copper Hills.
The Mustangs scored runs in bunches. Against Copper Hills, they amassed eight runs in the sixth inning to help them to a 10-7 victory over Copper Hills.
They again exploded for six runs against Layton in the championship game. The pinnacle of that game was a two-run home run by senior Libby Parkinson.
“Our seniors (Parkinson and Sydnee Hoffman) were great leaders,” McKissick said. “They really stepped up when we needed them to.”
Hoffman led the defensive charge in the tournament with several key plays to save game-changing situations. Parkinson anchored the Mustang pitching duties, allowing only one run in six innings in the championship game.
“Every game, all year all the way to the championship game, every girl contributed,” McKissick said. “They got hits, walks, bunts down and played defense when we need it. We knew we could do it and believed. We lost twice to Copper Hills in the season, but we said, ‘It is hard to beat someone three times.’ We believed all along.”
In 95 innings this season, Parkinson struck out 104 batters. She also belted eight home runs and had 26 RBIs. She has committed to play at SLCC next season.
“We knew that Libby’s experience could carry us,” McKissick said. “She plays with so much passion and leadership. We needed that in a pitcher. We had 24 talented girls. I really wish I could play them all.”
Hoffman led the team with 28 RBI and scored 30 runs.