Lehi took down Timpanogos 12-2 in six innings to kick off their best-of-three third-round series. The Pioneers found themselves tied heading into the bottom of the fifth, but an offensive explosion of nine runs separated them on their way to victory.
Jamisyn Heaton hit her ninth home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, a solo shot after a run was scored earlier in the inning. This would be Heaton’s only at bat of the game, as other three plate appearances would be accompanied by intentional walks. The first of which came in the bottom of the third inning with just one out and runners on first and second. Emily Hicken was able to get a strikeout before a pop-up to third base got Timpanogos out of the jam.
The Timberwolves then came up to bat and put together a rally. Lataya Brost guided home a run before Alana King brought in Brost to tie the game at two apiece in what appeared to be a defensive battle with both teams making some incredible defensive plays to keep the game tight.
For the Pioneers, the breakout fifth inning was a total team effort. The first strike came from pinch hitter Halley Payne, who hammered a hard hit toward second base. The defender was able to slow it down but couldn’t get it to first base in time as two runs came around and scored.
“I could’ve given 18 game balls out today, but we ended it giving it to Halley Payne, she came in with the bases loaded as a pinch hitter, got the hit, and it was over from there,” coach Tim Kennedy said of Payne’s performance.
With a 4-2 lead and momentum expanding, Maci Wall stepped to the plate. With the wind blowing into the infield, she hit a three-run homer toward the deepest part of the park to put the game away. Wall had missed the first two-thirds of the season recovering from a fractured femur but returned a few weeks ago to help Lehi’s push toward a state championship.
“Coming back, it has been kind of hard, my at bats haven’t been the greatest but my team has been behind me the whole time.” said Wall on her return to play. “I just kept thinking, ‘Base hit, base hit, base hit,’ and sure enough I was able to get one over the fence.”
Grace Humes was terrific in the pitching circle. Allowing just four hits and two earned runs as she picked up her 16th win of the season.
“It is a big win, but we focused on this game and we don’t look ahead,” said Kennedy “We are going to play our game tomorrow and the best team will win. We beat Timpanogos twice in Region 7 play and it is really hard to beat a team three times in a row.”
Lehi will look to take down Timpanogos a fourth time on Friday afternoon. It is the first year of the new best-of-three series format after last year was canceled due to COVID-19, but so far teams that have picked up a Game 1 triumph are 47-1 at converting the lead into a series victory showing the importance of Thursday’s game. With a win tomorrow the Pioneers will clinch a spot in the final stages of the state tournament next as they continue their quest for their first state championship since 2015.