Box score

Bingham’s bats came alive on Friday, and the Miners are champions of 6A softball once again.

After grinding out a shutout win in Game 1 with so-so hitting, Bingham pounded the ball in Game 2 at BYU, rolling past Herriman 11-5 to complete the 2-0 series sweep to secure its first state championship since 2010.

The title is the ninth in school history for Bingham, and for Bingham coach Mikki Jackson it’s her eighth state championship.

Jackson admits there were times during the 13-year drought — as new high schools kept popping up around her — that she wondered if she’d ever win another.

“It’s gotten tougher. Yeah, it crossed my mind if I’d see another one before I died,” she joked after Friday’s win.

After winning Game 1 3-0, Bingham jumped out fast on Herriman, scoring four runs in the second inning and then consistently ripping the ball throughout the game, finishing with 13 hits, three of them extra-base hits.

“We all were just having each other’s back and just feeding off of each other and that’s what a real team is supposed to,” said Bingham senior leader Shelbee Jones.

The win also extended Bingham’s winning streak over Herriman to nine straight dating back to 2021, an impressive stretch considering how competitive games in Region 3 always are.

Riverton was the mental block for Bingham, but after getting past Riverton on Wednesday to advance to the title game, it marched into the 6A championship series with next-level confidence.

All nine Bingham starters reached base, with seven getting base hits.

Oakley Clark had a huge game at the plate for the Miners, going 4 for 5 with four singles and two RBIs.

“That kid has been on fire through the playoffs. She absolutely has been our RBI queen for the last few weeks,” said Jackson.

In Bingham’s seven playoff wins, Clark went 13 of 28 with 12 RBIs.

For Herriman, it was a disappointing end to an outstanding season that saw the Mustangs advance to the state championship series a year after winning just five games.

Bingham did the damage early, and unlike Thursday’s Game 1 when it could only manufacture a couple runs without the big hit, in Game 2 it strung a bunch of hits together to get to Herriman ace Kiaira Smith in the second inning.

Clark led off the inning with a hard-hit single to left field, and then moved to third on a fielding error. Brecka Larson followed it up with an RBI single to right field. After Rian Howland sacrificed Larson to second, Gracelyn Lemke and Brooklynn Fogg both walked to load the bases for semifinal hero Brenna Cowley.

In the Miners’ 7-6 win over Riverton on Wednesday that booked their place in the championship series, it was Cowley’s two-out, two-run single that gave her team the lead in the top of the seventh inning.

In similar fashion, Cowley ripped a two-run single to center to push the lead to 3-0, and then leadoff hitter Charity Drake followed with an RBI single of her own.

Smith struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam, but the damage was done.

“Having seen her yesterday and having two days, plus they play against her a lot in summer ball, I think it just gave them that confidence. And you have a different strike zone a bit today with a difference umpire,” said Jackson.

Herriman threatened in the bottom half of the second, loading the bases on an error, hit batter and single by Kinlee McDermaid, but Shelbee Jones got the inning-ending strikeout to keep the 4-0 cushion.

Bingham stretched the lead to 5-0 on an RBI double by Rowland in the third, and after Herriman’s Cassidy Hauptman tripled in a run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 5-1, Bingham went right back out and smashed the ball in the fourth.

Jones tripled in Drake on a deep ball to right-center that would’ve been a home run at Cottonwood Complex, and then scored on an RBI single from Clark to push the lead to 7-1.

Jones went 0 for 3 yesterday and was 0 for 2 in her two prior at bats to the triple, but her approach was different in the batters box on that big hit.

“I was a little in my head at first, and Mikki brought me over and she’s like going back to rec ball, just have fun with it and keep it simple, and that’s what I did, I just relaxed in the box and I just had fun with it,” said Jones.

Bingham added a couple more runs in the sixth to push the lead to 9-1 as Smith just never settled into a rhythm as she noticeably dealt with a blister on her finger about midway through the game.

Jones earned the win for Bingham as she started and went 4-2/3 innings with four strikeouts. She gave way to Larson for 1 1/3 innings, but after Kiaira Smith blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to right field to cut the lead to 11-5, Jones re-entered to get the final two outs.

Jackson said she was always going to led Jones come in and close out the win, regardless of the grand slam.

It was a satisfying moment for Jones as the SLCC commit wrapped up her high school career lighting the state championship trophy.

“I’m just so proud of the team and how we’ve grown even from yesterday’s game to today’s game. We just came in firing up regardless of if we were going to a second game, we were just ready to go for whatever was happening,” said Jones.