High school softball: Manti beats Grantsville, South Summit to book it’s place in the 3A state championship
Manti awaits the winner of Saturday morning’s one-loss bracket game between South Summit and Grand
When Manti arrived at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex on Friday morning, the mentality was a simple one — go beat Grantsville.
That is, of course, much easier said than done as Grantsville came into this year’s 3A state tournament looking to win a fifth straight state championship.
Manti set out and accomplished exactly what it wanted in that first game against Grantsville, pulling off the 4-1 upset to remain in the winners bracket. It then beat South Summit a few hours later to book its place in Saturday’s championship at 12:30 p.m.
As for its opponent, it won’t be Grantsville. After losing to Manti, Grantsville was stunned by Grand 14-11 in the 3A one-loss bracket and bowed out of the tournament before the final day.
Manti will await the winner of the 10 a.m. game between Grand vs. South Summit, the last two teams standing in the 3A one-loss bracket.
Manti coach Susan Hatch said her players had the right mentality from the start of the day: to take care of business and march into the championship again.
“We just focused on it’s a game, it doesn’t matter who it is that we have to play, we have to play our best to be the best, and that’s how we feel about Grantsville. They’re the best,” said Hatch.
Manti is now one win away from being 3A’s best and claiming its first state title since 2016.
Tiffany Hermansen was the hero of the day for Manti as she picked up the win in both games and also homered in both games.
In Game 2 against South Summit, Hermansen ripped a two-run home run just over the fence in the third inning to stretch the lead to 3-0, with Alivya Osborn singling in the first run of the inning.
Manti threatened in the fourth to stretch the lead, but South Summit pitcher Indee Jones didn’t let up another run to keep the game close.
South Summit threatened to have a big inning in the fifth after loading the bases with one out courtesy of a couple of bunt singles by Alyssa Sargent and Emma Olson. Hermansen pitched out of the jam by forcing a grounder to third, and getting the force out at home. She then struck out the next batter with South Summit slugger Jones in the on-deck circle.
Manti’s defense came up big all game for Hermansen, who also helped her own cause with eight strikeouts.
“Our defense has really stepped up for us since the end of March, they’ve picked it up. It helps ... Tiffany with her pitching. If the ball is put in play, she trusts her defense to pick it up,” said Hatch.
Getting the strike out to end the fifth was huge for Hermansen, as Jones led off the sixth inning with a solo home run, her 17th of the season.
In the top of the seventh, Emma Broadbent led off with a solo homer as well to trim the deficit to 3-2. Hermansen struck out the next two batters, however, and forced a pop up to end the inning.
Manti is back in the state championship for the second straight season, but Hatch had her doubts if her team could get there earlier in the season.
“We started so slow the first of the year,” said Hatch. “We just weren’t ready. They didn’t spend enough time in the offseason to be where we needed to be. It took a lot of mental preparation and hard work to get them to where we are.”
Manti needs just one more win to claim the title, while South Summit and Grand are both hoping to pull off the unlikely and win three straight games to claim the championship.