Giving up four hits in four games is usually excellent for a pitcher, but not Taryn Nichols. She is a little disappointed.
For the second consecutive day Nichols of Box Elder let a no-hitter slip through her fingers with two out in the final inning leaving the sophomore happy for her team but less than satisfied with herself.The Bees won Thursday's game against rival Bear River 5-1, leaving Box Elder as the only unbeaten team in the double-elimination 4A state tournament at Cottonwood Complex.
With one out left in the bottom of the seventh inning, Krissy Poulsen banged a single ruining ending the no hit game. The next batter popped up the first pitch, ending the contest between Region 5 rivals.
"I just can't get that last batter," Nichols said. "I just let it (the pitch) float in the strike zone and she turned on it. Two times (games) in a row is bad, but it's not that bad."
In four post season games the Bees have dropped Olympus, Payson, Ogden and now Bear River with Nichols allowing one hit in each of the games. Despite her personal hopes the hurler acknowledged winning is most important to her.
"It would be a lot harder if she were a senior," said Box Elder coach Jim Fuller. "She has two more years so it's not so big."
The win puts Box Elder in the driver's seat with one day left in title play. The Bees can lose once and still clinch the crown for the second straight year. Pleasant Grove - who was scheduled to face the defending champs at 10 a.m. - Bear River and Payson can drop only a single game before heading home. Poor field conditions from a rainy Wednesday night forced Thursday's action to start later than planned, cutting short the elimination rounds by one. Friday was scheduled to fit one of Thursday's games for each team.
If any of the remaining teams hope to steal a title, they would do well to cut down on errors. Three of the Bees' runs came in the first inning from Bear River mistakes. Fuller didn't give all the blame to the Bears.
"We contributed to those situations. Our base speed puts a lot of pressure on teams. They must make quick throws."
Still, Bear River coach Sandie Trapp felt her squad helped give the game away.
"It is a definite confidence factor for us. If you take away that first inning it is a 2-1 game."
Nichols plans to pitch both games Friday and if the Bees lose one and she must pitch a third contest, she is ready. After her fourth playoff win it was actually her non-throwing arm that hurt. Bear pitcher Geridawn Anderson hit her with a pitch late in the game. Center fielder Lisa Hashimoto, who pitched in last year's title game could also be used according to Fuller.
In other 4A tournament action:
Pleasant Grove 1, Ogden 0: Despite being out hit 7-4, the Vikings managed to sneak the game's lone run in when Leslie Levitre knocked a single, scoring Allyson West for the game winner in the fourth.
Payson 8, Sky View 3: Pitcher Cara Ross swatted a double while sophomore Julie Wall clocked a triple to keep the Lions title hopes alive. The Bobcats held a 1-0 lead in the first inning but Payson scored in five of seven innings to pull away.