Riverton softball continues dominance with 6A state championshipJun 28, 2021 03:36PM ● By Josh Martinez
The Riverton High School softball team won the 6A state championship on May 28 after back-to-back wins over Bingham High School. (Photo courtesy of Katelyn Elliott.)
By Josh Martinez | [email protected]
A state championship has returned to Riverton.
The Riverton High School softball team capped off a dominant season with back-to-back wins over rival Bingham High School to win the 6A state championship, the first title in softball since 2016.
This win comes on the heels of a pandemic-shortened season in 2020. Furthermore, the Silverwolves had to work for their wins as they beat Bingham by one run in each contest.
Still, the experience was rewarding and isn’t one senior Chloe Borges will likely forget anytime soon.
“It was like an indescribable feeling,” she said. “It was crazy just to be in that moment. I felt like you were on cloud nine.”
The Silverwolves boasted a 24-1 overall record to end the season with their only loss coming to Spanish Fork High School, the eventual 5A state champions. The majority of wins were blowouts with the exception of games against Bingham.
Riverton first beat Bingham 11-2 on April 20 before eking out an 11-10 victory on May 6.
The 6A state playoffs was a double elimination tournament. Neither team lost on their way to the finals where Riverton overcame an early deficit in the first game to win 5-4. The Silverwolves led throughout the second game en route to a 4-3 victory.
Riverton head softball coach Katelyn Elliott said the games against Bingham proved a lot about her team.
“I think it shows a lot about when things are close, our team never gave up,” she said. “They kept pushing ahead whether they were ahead or behind. They kept just plugging along and just were determined to get the win.”
Borges said though the games were nerve-racking, she enjoys close games because they are more fun to play in and Bingham provided a fun, competitive game.
“It still would’ve felt good no matter what, but I think because it was such a close game, it was like you were on your toes the whole game,” Borges said. “You were worried what was going to happen. It could’ve gone either way and we weren’t going to stop until it came our way.”
Bingham was a dominant team in its own right. The Miners ended the season with a 25-4 record with all losses coming to Riverton and were one of the few teams to hang with the Silverwolves.
Bingham softball coach Mikki Jackson said she credits the caliber of players she has for why her team could play Riverton well. She said Riverton is a team that can punish opponents for mistakes and that was the case in the state title.
Furthermore, Jackson said what made the difference in the finals were a few mistakes on Bingham’s part but also solid student-athletes from Riverton.
“I can remember our coach that was calling the pitches saying, ‘Man, [the Bingham’s pitcher] is giving good pitches, and [Riverton is] not biting or they’re crushing these good pitches.’ They’re just really good hitters.”
Still, Jackson said she couldn’t be more proud of her players because of how well they played leading up to the finals and for how they competed against Riverton.
Elliott is also proud of all her players accomplished, saying they put in a lot of work to perfect their skills throughout the season.
She said this was a fun team to coach because of how well the athletes accepted coaching and tried to meet Elliott’s expectations of being a competitive team.
“These kids could have easily said, ‘OIh I know it all, and I’m the best around,’ but they don’t,” Elliott said. “They come in with a mentality that they want to get better every single day. With that mentality, it’s a coach’s dream. It’s something that I look forward to every day to watch them grow and to watch them get better.”
With the sun setting on the 2021 season, many players will move along their respective paths like Borges, who will play softball for the University of Hawaii.
Elliott will remain to help bring the team back to the apex of the sport in the state and work with a good chunk of returners since the team graduated four.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to repeat, Elliott said.
“There’s a lot of preparation and a lot of time and a lot of mental preparation,” she said. “Any team is beatable at any time, and you’ve always got to have that mentality that you’re never going to stay on top by just coasting. You’ve always got to work for it.”