SPANISH FORK — Predicting who will win between the Bear River and Tooele softball teams is nearly impossible. But forecasting the score, well, that might be a little easier this season.

In the four games between the Region 11 rivals, three have ended with a score of 2-1, includingthe Buffaloes' victory Friday night at the Spanish Fork Sports Park.

"This is what it's all about," said an upbeat and confident Bears coach Calvin Bingham. "This was a great game. You just go out and play your hardest, and the credit goes to the warriors in the arena. We hate to lose, but somebody's always got to win, and somebody's got to lose, and just

because you lose doesn't mean you didn't give 100 percent."

Instead, Bingham said the Buffaloes brought out their bats for the fourth game between the two teams this year.

"To their credit, they hit the ball well," he said. "That's the best we've seen them hit this season."

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Bingham tried two different pitchers, freshman Erica Park and then in the fifth inning he brought in Tasha Chadaz. Tooele earned hits off both pitchers, including a huge triple by catcher Ashley Arbon in the sixth inning. The senior scored when the batter after her Brandi Allen smacked a single to send her home for the winning run.

"Ashley's really intense," said Tooele coach Barry Pitt. "I just told her to go out and hit one as hard as she could. She was a little flustered from before with the defense, but she got that one."

Tooele switched pitchers halfway through the third inning when the Bears got two hits and a walk. Pitt said he switched pitchers simply because he'd thrown Lindsey Palmer against the Bears every game this season. Meghan Wilson's style, especially her change-up, seemed to stymie the normally productive Bears' offense.

"I just wanted to see if they could hit off a different pitcher," he said. "The only difference between them is that Meghan shows she's intense, and Lindsey doesn't."

He said they're both such good hurlers, he had no idea who he'd start in the championship game Saturday.

"Flip a coin," said he said of how he'd decide. "They've been helping each other for years. Last year Lindsey came in and helped Meghan, and this year, Meghan came in and helped Lindsey. It's just a teamwork they have between the two of them."

The pair struck out seven Bear River batters and held the top of the order to just a single hit. That's something Bingham said the team needed to remedy if they wanted to do what the Bears did three years ago.

"Three years ago we were in exactly this same position," he said with a smile. "And we came back and won all three games on Saturday. So I'm very confident about what we can do."

The Bears will have to play North Sanpete at 10 a.m. Saturday morning to even get another shot at Tooele. Bingham has never coached against the Hawks in his five years at the helm of Bear River's softball program and said he knows very little about them.

"This'll be a first," he said.

3A PLAYOFFS

TOOELE 5, NORTH SANPETE 0: The Buffalo offense was too hot for the Hawks to handle as Tooele shut out Region 8's No. 3 seed in the quarterfinal round of the championship bracket.

The Buffaloes had seven hits in the win, including Tenneal Bryant's double and Jessica Howsden's triple.

BEAR RIVER 6, LEHI 5: Erica Park came in and threw three and two thirds scoreless innings to earn the save for the Bears. She entered the game during a furious Pioneer rally and shut them down. Then the Bears offense earned them the edge in the sixth inning, and she allowed just one hit the rest of the game.

GRANTSVILLE 6, CARBON 1: The Cowboys played a solid defensive game and then earned six hits in their bid to stay alive in the one-loss bracket. The loss eliminated the Dinos.

SNOW CANYON 13, UNION 0: The Warriors stayed alive in the one-loss bracket with a route of the Cougars. Snow Canyon opened up with a six-run inning and had 10 hits, including Alex Davis' double and Cheyenne Nikolas' triple.

NORTH SANPETE 1, GRANTSVILLE 0: The Hawks managed a run against the solid defense of the Cowboys in what was otherwise a solid pitching duel. Lacey Larsen hit a double in the win that sent the Hawks to the 4 p.m. game against North Sanpete, while the loss eliminated the Cowboys.

LEHI 5, SNOW CANYON 4: Kylee Steadman hit a double to tie the game for the Pioneers in the fifth inning, and then after hitting five foul balls she smacked a single that knocked in the winning run, scored by Megan Zimmerman. The loss eliminated the fourth-ranked Warriors.

NORTH SANPETE 2, LEHI 0: The Hawks eliminated the Pioneers on a game-ending play at plate on a throw from outfielder Kailee Christiansen to catcher Lacey Collard. Jessica Aagard scored from second on an outfield Lehi error for North Sanpete's first run.


E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com

Tooele 2

Bear River 1