GUNNISON—The Lady Bulldogs were brought back to earth last week in two tough games, but for head coach Sara Ellsworth, it’s all part of the process.
Gunnison Valley softball began the week with a dominating Tuesday shutout over North Sevier, 17-0, in only three innings, pushing their win streak to six games, but the next two weren’t so easy. The Lady Bulldogs subsequently fell in consecutive non-region matchups against some of 3A’s best, losing 15-11 to Emery on Wednesday and 24-13 to South Summit on Thursday.
“Playing tough teams like Emery and South Summit were exactly what we needed going into state,” Ellsworth said. “We were challenged, and although the outcome was not in our favor, we played hard and had both individual and team growth.”
Gunnison pulverized the Wolves on their own diamond, scoring 12 runs in the first inning and compiling 12 hits on the game. Thanks in part to four fielding errors by North Sevier, the Lady Bulldogs stole nine bases as well. The high scoring game happened for them even when only one hit, a double by junior Jakelle Sorensen, was more than a single.
Junior Lexee Keisel pitched three strikeouts and allowed only one hit.
Emery proved a much different animal when they hosted the Lady Bulldogs. After the one hit allowed against North Sevier, the Spartans made life miserable for senior Kennedi Knudsen at the mound.
Gunnison managed to stay with Emery nearly all game long, as the score was tied 7-7 going into the seventh inning, but after taking an 11-7 lead on an impressive final inning, they allowed Emery to score eight runs on a huge finishing effort to run away with the win.
Knudsen allowed 17 hits, her highest number allowed this season by far. Knudsen led the hitting with three RBI.
Against South Summit, it was a home run derby as the two teams combined for five hits over the fence, but the Wildcats proved stronger in the end, while both teams also struggled on defense. Gunnison collected seven fielding errors to South Summit’s five.
Freshman Maile Ha’o was phenomenal in the loss, hitting two home runs and finishing with a whopping seven RBI.
“We have to believe we can beat every team we compete against,” Ellsworth said. “It’s crucial that we win the next few games going into the state tournament. If we play to our fullest potential, we can have the momentum going into the tournament which will be very beneficial for us.”
The Lady Bulldogs host South Sevier this Tuesday, then they’ll remain at home on Thursday and Friday for games against Piute and North Sevier.