Tiffany Hermansen wasn’t about to watch another team celebrate on the field at her expense. That’s how her freshman and junior seasons ended, and it was miserable.
On Saturday, she finally got to experience the euphoria of being a state champion.
Hermansen mowed down South Summit Wildcat batters in Saturday’s 3A state championship, only allowing one hit and leading the Manti Templars to the 13-0 victory in five innings at Spanish Fork Sports Complex.
Hermansen finished the tournament with a 5-0 record, only allowing five runs in five games.
“I was pretty confident. I work really hard, especially me and my catcher. We work too hard to lose, so I’m really happy and I felt really confident we could do it,” said Hermansen, who struck out six batters.
Against South Summit in Friday’s winners bracket game, Hermansen earned the win in a tight pitchers duel, 3-2.
She gave up two solo home runs in the win, and those home runs served as extra motivation in the rematch.
“I’ve always been taught no matter what, even if they hit a home run, you come back and you shove it down their throats,” said Hermansen.
The two hitters who hit home runs against Hermansen on Friday went 0 for 4 on Saturday with three strikeouts.
Hermansen was virtually untouchable by all the Wildcat hitters as she said her curveball and magical three-knuckle change were working wonderfully.
“I’ve taken second all my years of high school, and so this moment is just the icing right on top of the cake,” said Hermansen.
Manti scored six runs in the first inning and then added two more in the second to race to a big early lead.
The speedy Madison Scottorn led off each of those innings with singles and quickly came around to score.
Manti’s speed on the base paths put pressure on South Summit’s defense all game, and the Wildcats quickly found themselves in a hole they couldn’t dig out of like they had in earlier rounds of the tournament.
The state title was Manti’s first since 2016, and was extra sweet for coach Susan Hatch, who is retiring after 18 seasons as head coach.
She finishes with six state championships (2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2022).
“I’m so happy for the girls, they worked so hard and they shined today. They brought their A game,” said Hatch.
Early in the season, however, it didn’t necessarily look like Manti had the chemistry of a state championship team, as it started 0-7 playing tough competition down in a preseason tournament in St. George.
Hermansen said her team learned an important lesson — they needed a lot of work with their bats.
So that’s what Hermansen and her teammates did, they went to work believing in the slow-and-steady approach Hatch laid before them.
“She’s definitely a stickler with softball, she definitely pushes us to our full potential. We wake up at 5 a.m. almost every week doing early morning workouts and Susan believes us and she pushes us to our max cause she knows we can do it,” said Hermansen.
All those reps with Hatch yelling out, ’You’ve got one more,’ made a difference on Saturday.
Hatch knows those early losses were eye openers for her players, but they were a necessary step in the process.
“That’s what my philosophy has been from Day 1, you have to play the best to be the best and I would rather play a strong team and get my butts kicked than play a team that’s not even going to push us,” Hatch said.
“That’s also beneficial for us because we see what work we have to do to improve from there.”
After South Summit lost to Manti on Friday to fall into the 3A one-loss bracket, it worked its way back into the 3A championship game with a 6-3 win over Grand in an elimination game Saturday morning.
From there though, the Wildcats seemed to run out of gas in the rematch with Manti, as they quickly fell behind and couldn’t touch Hermansen with any hope of a comeback.
All nine batters in Manti’s lineup recorded hits in the championship game, with Hermansen and Adalee Olson both doubling and Kathrine Crouch leading the way with three RBIs.