ROY — The Royals dominated defensively to take down the Payson Lions 3-0 Tuesday and advance to the second round of the 4A state tournament.
Roy pitcher Krystin Jachim threw one of the best games of her career, tallying 12 strikeouts in a complete game shutout.
"She's a three-year starter and she just grows and matures every year," Payson head coach Mandy Kofford said. "If things are tense, she has the confidence to say, 'It's okay, I'll get the next batter.'"
The Royals just picked away at Payson pitcher Rikki Christensen in the early innings, scoring a run a piece in the first, second and fourth innings. In the first, after walking and stealing two bases, McCauley Flint came in off a Sam Edstrom single. Alissa Willard led off the second with a triple, the only extra bases hit of the game, and slid home a few batters later on a wild pitch. Willard scored again in the fourth by leading off with a single and coming around a few batters later off a Jessica Kirvan RBI single.
Although Jachim struck out 10 through the first four innings, things did get interesting for Payson in the top of the second when Jachim walked two batters and hit another. In between, however, she struck out two and with a 2-0 count on Payson batter Lace Seamen, catcher Shaley Barfs made a big throw to pick off the runner at 3rd.
"I couldn't throw a strike that whole inning," Jachim said. "I was glad she could step up and save us when we needed it."
"That was a game-changer," Kofford said. "For Shaley to come up with that right then said something to our team and to the other team, I think."
Rikki Christensen walked with one out in the sixth to give Payson a scoring opportunity, but that ended a batter later when Abby Christensen popped out to third and Roy third baseman Ceria Mitchell threw out the runner on first. Payson never got a chance to rally in the seventh as Jachim struck out the first two batters and the third flew out to left field.
"They've been able to play with such a calm demeanor all year," Kofford said. "They've always had that quiet confidence about them."
Willard and Jachim each went 2-for-3 and Willard added two runs, while Taler Clements went 2-for-2 with a stolen base to lead Roy offensively. Seamen went 2-for-2 to lead Payson.
"We were really focused and we knew it was big," Jachim said. "Now we're ready for the next one."
The Royals now advance to meet the Murray Spartans Thursday at 3 p.m. at Murray Park.