Carbon High players mob Jordyn Cave (center) after her game-winning walk off single in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Lady Dinos in their 8-7 win over North Sanpete on Tuesday afternoon. The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Lady Dinos in Region 12 play.
Carbon High head coach Kirt Nunley celebrates with Katie Basinger (right) after she scored the game-winning run in the Lady Dinos' 8-7 win in extra innings on Tuesday afternoon.
As the Carbon High softball players watched North Sanpete score run after run in the top of the sixth inning, a familiar feeling of uneasiness fell over the Lady Dinos. With a seven run lead erased late in the game, the Lady Dinos were facing another close gut-wrenching and heartbreaking loss.
After limping into extra innings tied at 7-7 with all momentum now in the North Sanpete dugout, the Lady Dinos went back to the basics that eluded them late in the game.
A leadoff walk by Katie Basinger, a groundout by Alexus Wilson to advance Basinger to second and a single to left center field by Jordyn Cave to score Basinger from second.
"I was looking for something in the strike zone, just trying to get a hit anywhere," said Cave.
Nothing flashy. Just a simple strategy that worked to perfection in an 8-7 victory in nine innings for the Lady Dinos on Tuesday afternoon.
"This was a big win for us," said CHS head coach Kirt Nunley whose team snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory.
"When North Sanpete made their comeback, we stayed calm and continued to work hard," said Basinger. "Getting this win was huge for us."
The finish was a complete turnaround from the start of the game. The Lady Dinos got on the board early in the game with a seven run outburst in the bottom of the second inning to take a commanding 7-0. Abby Robinson had a run-scoring triple, Desirae Lantz and Taylor Oliver each had doubles and Alexus Wilson added a key home run that helped the rally continue to grab the early lead.
That early lead would hold strong over the next three innings as Cave and the Lady Dino defense kept the Lady Hawks off the scoreboard.
But the North Sanpete bats came alive in the top of the sixth inning as they scored six runs, including two home runs, to cut the deficit to 7-6. They tied the game in the top of the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly helping to send the game into extra innings.
After allowing seven early runs, North Sanpete pitcher Emily Taylor kept the Lady Dinos scoreless for six innings getting key strikeouts with runners on base.
Before heading into extra innings, the game was momentarily stopped after questions arose whether the extra innings were to be played under international rules. Coaches and umpires talked it over while Carbon High athletic director Ted Bianco phoned an official upstate.
Cave and Taylor each pitched scoreless innings until the bottom of the ninth when the Lady Dinos finally broke through and got the win.
Nunley said the team was pressing at the plate after their big second inning and were unable to make simple plays down the stretch with the game on the line.
"At the beginning of the game, the girls looked relaxed at the plate and were seeing the ball well," he said. "After that they just started to play tight and make some mistakes out in the field."
But when the opportunity arose for the Lady Dinos to get a win, Nunley said they weren't about to let this game get away.
"I just looked at Jordyn before her at-bat and told her 'win it here or you'll have to go out and pitch another inning,'" he explained.
After a rough time on the mound in the sixth and seventh innings, Cave said getting the game-winning hit made up for it.
"I try to think only pitch-by-pitch while on the mound," she said. "But getting the game-winning hit feels really good."
The Lady Dinos (5-12 overall, 3-4 Region 12) are battling with Juab (3-3 Region 12) for the third spot in the region.
With the win, Nunley is hoping that the team's confidence will carry over as they are in the midst of a tussle for one of the four playoff spots from Region 12.
"Hopefully this gives them a confidence boost going forward," he said.