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High school softball: Riverton overpowers Murray on the mound and the plate in a dominant preseason matchup

Riverton’s 10 Kyli Carrell scores before Murray’s catcher Jasmine Vera can tag her at Riverview Junior High in Murray on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Riverton’s 10 Kyli Carrell scores before Murray’s catcher Jasmine Vera can tag her at Riverview Junior High in Murray on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Box Score

Even though Riverton ended up beating Murray by 17 runs during Wednesday’s game at Riverview Junior High, there was a moment in the fourth inning when Riverton coach Katelyn Elliott could sense the slightest momentum shift.

How Elliott handled the moment, and the philosophy she’ll likely continue to use all season, are big reasons Riverton is one of the favorites in 6A this season.

To be blunt, Riverton is loaded on the mound with two aces.

Between senior Chloe Borges and junior Kaysen Korth, Elliott has a pair of hard-throwing pitchers at her disposal who she can mix and match however she sees fit.

Against Murray, they combined to face just 23 batters, with Korth facing 12 batters and striking out seven while allowing one hit. Borges came on in relief and faced 11 batters, striking out six and allowing zero hits.

“They’re both phenomenal pitchers,” said Elliott. “It’s really freeing as a pitcher to know that you’ve got somebody coming in behind you, so they can go out and be free out there and maybe try pitches they would’ve if they were up tight.”

Korth got the starting nod, and after mowing down Murray’s hitters through the first three innings, she gave up a bloop single to Murray’s Ellie Christensen to lead off the fourth inning.

With his team only trailing 2-0 at the time and pitcher Anika Salvesen looking strong on the mound through four innings, Murray coach Eric Christensen elected to play small ball and had Oakleigh Harman sacrifice bunt Christensen to second base.

That was enough for Elliott to make a pitching change. She could’ve easily left Korth in the game, which on some days she will, but on Wednesday she just decided to mix things up and bring in her other ace standing in center field.

“I just go with our starter until I feel like either momentum shifted or maybe they’re starting to get on them and then I give them a new look. I don’t know who’s our one and who’s our two, I just think they’re both good powerhouses,” said Elliott.

Borges struck out both batters she faced in the fourth to retire the side, and then sat Murray’s hitters down in order over the final three innings with electrifying power pitching.

Korth likely could’ve done the same given the opportunity, and she’ll get many more opportunities to prove it this year.

For Borges, she loves having another great arm on the staff.

“This is my second year playing with her, and we’ve clicked. We complement each other, and we know we have a good duo,” said Borges, whose signed to pitch at the University of Hawaii.

Riverton’s hitters were largely held in check the first two times through batting order with just two runs on four hits. The third, fourth and fifth time through the order was a much different story.

Riverton scored three runs in the fifth inning, four in the sixth and then eight in the seventh as it finished with four home runs and six doubles.

“We should’ve done that from that start, but we didn’t, but sometimes it just takes us a minute and for one of us to start it and then it keeps going,” said Borges, who finished with a home run and four RBIs.

She along with Alexis Shaver and Kyli Carrell homered in the seventh, with Chloe Woods adding the other four bagger on a solo shot to lead off the fifth inning.

“Their pitchers did a good job of mixing up their speeds and keeping my hitters off. It took them a while to make adjustments, and that’s something we talked about, making adjustments sooner,” said Elliott.

All nine Riverton hitters recorded a base hit against Murray, with Carrell reaching base safely all five times going 4 for 4 with a walk, double and home run. Leadoff hitter Woods reached base safely four times going 3 for 4 with a walk, double and home run as well.

Riverton improved to 7-1 with Wednesday’s win, which includes five shutouts. Elliott isn’t surprised at all about the hot start from her team.

“This is the core of the team that we had last year, so I think they were hungry for it last year and they really wanted to go out and show what they had and they weren’t able to, and this year it was like, ‘Give it to us,’” said Elliott.

Riverton has one more preseason game this week before opening up Region 3 play with a dandy against 6A powerhouse Herriman.