RIVERTON – Paige Reimann was reassuring her coaches she could continue pitching before she could even feel her hand.
The Bingham senior pitcher was hit in her pitching hand by a line drive in the sixth inning as 5A’s top two teams were locked in a 0-0 battle. It came off the bat of Riverton power hitter Kyrae Kogianes, who earned both of the Silverwolves hits in Wednesday’s game.
“It was a reaction shot,” said Bingham head coach Mikki Jackson, after the top-ranked Miners managed a 2-0 win against Region 4 rival Riverton, ranked No. 2 in the state. “My first thought was, ‘Oh, no. That’s her pitching hand.’ But then I got out there and she was moving her hand. She had a good grip.”
While Reimann assessed her hand, Bingham shortstop Shea Ibrahim gave her a bit of a pep talk.
“I told her she had this, that it was second nature for her,” said Ibrahim, who added she never had any doubt Reimann would finish the game. “It was a little scary at first, but she’s always there for us. I knew she’d stay in; she’s way too competitive, and this is our hardest region game.”
Reimann fired a couple of warm-up pitches and the fact that she could spin and move the ball convinced her coaches the hand wasn’t broken. The moment galvanized the Miners and they answered with two runs in the top of the seventh that earned the team the win.
“The stakes for Region 4 are so high,” Jackson said. “We’ve talked a lot about resiliency. Things can happen, but we have to bounce back from that. Paige toughened up after, and then the team did. … I didn’t see tears. I just saw her saying, ‘Let’s get it done.’”
Reimann said her hand immediately went numb, so the issue became whether she could move the ball.
“It wasn’t pain,” she said. “My fingers were numb. ... I felt like we could bounce back. My teammates knew I was there for them, and I wasn’t going to give up.”
Reimann said the the feeling, as well as some pain, returned to her hand after the game ended.
Her teammates offered their support during the game. After Ibrahim walked in the top of the seventh inning, Reimann popped out. Catcher Chelsea Latu told Reimann not to worry, that she “had this.” Then the junior, who’d been in a bit of a slump offensively, hit the ball over the left field fence.
“It was just a good feeling," Latu said. “I wasn’t too surprised (Reimann) continued playing. She’s a real tough girl. But that was a really hard hit right at her.”
Both teams played flawless defense and both pitchers – Reimann and Riverton’s Courtney Platt – threw impressive games. Reimann had one walk and she hit one batter, while Platt had just two walks.
“We don’t have that many games behind us yet,” said Jackson. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to deal with good, tough, tense competition. I was worried we didn’t have enough experience.”
Her team answered that question, especially in the bottom of the seventh. Reimann struck out the first two batters and forced the third batter to hit a grounder to shortstop Tori Glasker who made the throw to Taylor Clemens on first for the win.
Many of the players compete in summer leagues together so the game is about strategy as much as talent.