It might’ve looked like a shady transaction, but Kate Dahle getting an IV in a car in a random parking lot in Salt Lake City was totally legit. The ace Bear River pitcher was forced to leave Wednesday’s 4A playoff game a few hours earlier when her entire lower half cramped up.

Bear River hung on for the win without her, but Dahle needed to be ready the following day to pitch and an IV was the quickest possible way to make it happen.

In an ironic coincidence, Dahle’s cousin is a nurse who does IV therapy for a career, so hooking her up in the parking lot after the game was the perfect solution. The IV along with 18 hours of drinking fluids paid off as Dahle enjoyed a masterful performance on the mound in Thursday’s 4A playoff game as she struck out 10 to lead the Bears to the 10-1 win over Cedar to book a place in the weekend’s best-of-3 championship series.

“I felt really good. I’m a little sore in my calves, but other than that it was perfect,” said Dahle.

Dahle helped her own cause at the plate in the comfortable win over Cedar with a couple hits and couple RBIs, one of several players who had a productive day at the plate at Cottonwood Complex.

With the win, Bear River advances to the 4A championship series against top seed Ridgeline. Game 1 is slated for noon on Friday as the series shifts to BYU for the final two days.

The series is a rematch of last year’s championship series which Ridgeline won 2-0. The Riverhawks also swept the region series this year, and will be the favorite for sure in the final series of the season.

Dahle, who was the ace two years ago when Bear River won the state title, believes success is all about coming out with the right mentality.

High school softball: 6A/5A/4A/3A/2A state tournament scores and schedules
High school softball: Top seeds Ridgeline, Bear River stay unbeaten with two 4A state tourney wins

“I think we need to come out and play the game that we know how to play. Whenever we play Ridgeline it’s always kind of mental more than physical. I think we need to go out show them what we can do. We need to hit, hit, hit, hit tomorrow,” said Dahle.

Bear River coach Calvin Bingham said it’s important the bottom of the lineup hits as well, and not be so reliant on the top half of the order. Getting the first win heading into Saturday’s Game 2 — and a potential Game 3 — is huge.

“Obviously you like to get the first one and then that puts the pressure on them. You just have to play the way you’ve been playing all year long. I expect it to be a real close game. They’ve got some really good players,” said Bingham.

Ridgeline won the two region meetings this season 10-9 and then 5-2.

For Bingham, he’s announced this will be his final year as head coach at Bear River. He’s coached a state record 10 state championships, and going out with lucky No. 11 would be a great feather in his cap.

It will take a great effort though to beat No. 1 seed Ridgeline, which marched into the championship series with another a third straight playoff shutout on Thursday.

It rolled to a 13-0 win over Mountain Crest, which was a surprise winner over Snow Canyon earlier in the day. Ridgeline coach Michael Anderson wondered how his players would respond to the emotion of playing a rival such a critical playoff game, but it wasn’t an issue at all.

Ridgeline recorded nine hits and capitalized on seven Mountain Crest errors to win comfortably in just five innings. It broke the game open with nine runs in the third inning as its aggressive baserunning led to 10 stolen bases.

Keeping that momentum going against Bear River will be key to repeating as state champs.

“It doesn’t matter what our record against Bear River is this year, to me we’re 0-0 and we’ve got to go play a three-game set,” said Anderson.