Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
AMERICAN FORK – Since making the jump back to Class 5A for the 2014 season, the Herriman High softball team has been making noise. What has been building for the Mustangs (10-0 in Region 4, 19-4 overall) has hit its high point this year as Herriman is making a case that it is the favorite to lift the big trophy at the state tournament in late May.
One of the keys for the Mustangs has been their ability to take care of business early in games and then put opponents away before they have a chance to get their bearings. That was certainly the case Wednesday when Herriman visited American Fork.
The Mustangs broke out the bats early, scoring five in the first frame and six more in the second on their way to a 16-0 win that ended after just four innings due to the mercy rule. While the offense was banging out 15 hits for Herriman, senior Allie Lloyd did not allow a hit in the shortened contest in pitching her team to yet another impressive win.
If not for spectacular diving catches in the American Fork outfield to end each of those first two stanzas (in right field in the first and center field in the second), the 11-0 deficit the Cavemen faced by the time they got to swing their bats for just the second time could have been much worse. Outstanding defense, which also included a brilliant lunging backhand grab by shortstop Savana Stephenson earlier in the initial inning, only carried American Fork so far as the Mustangs blasted a trio of home runs and found the grass with almost everything they hit.
It all started with a Lauren Tycksen bunt single in the first and after Dayna Hokanson was hit by a pitch, Bryce Taylor roped a two-run triple before scoring on an Ashlyn Visser base hit. The final two first-inning runs came home on a two-run home run by Mikaela Thomson.
There was one out in the second when Tycksen used her speed once again, this time beating out a ground ball to shortstop for an infield single. Hokanson took another one for the team, as she was hit by a pitch for the second consecutive inning, and that set the stage for the heart of the order.
Taylor drove in a run with a single and then two more scored on wild pitches before Brittany Wood belted a two-run home run. That was followed by a Thomson single and a Madilyn Jackson two-bagger, and then Thomson scored on a ground ball out to get the score to 11-0 through two innings.
The Mustangs put the game away in the top of the fourth when they hung another five on the scoreboard. They got those in a rally that started after two were out. A Tycksen ground ball got under the glove of the American Fork shortstop to score Ashley Shetler and Cameron Simonsen, who had both singled.
Hokanson and Taylor followed that with RBI singles and Visser plated the final run with a run-scoring double.
The Cavemen (2-7, 10-14) face Pleasant Grove Friday, while Herriman is off until it closes out the season with games next week against Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove as it looks to finish off a perfect record in league play.