Bingham softball lifts first 6A state championship since 2010Jul 07, 2023 09:59AM ● By Brian Shaw
Kiaira Smith, Herriman’s Weber State-bound ace, needed a bandage for her fingers.
Bingham’s crosstown rival did get something to stop the bleeding—but Herriman didn’t find anything that could stop Bingham from scoring runs in Game 2 of the 6A state championship game, and the Miners won their first state title in softball since 2010 by the score of 11-5.
Herriman also did all that it could to “Fight For Her!”—a credo the team used to honor teammate Kiki Feliciano, a sophomore battling lung cancer for the second time.
Bingham’s crosstown rival made life interesting after the Miners raced out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Miners loaded the bases, but Herriman’s ace left Bingham stranded at Gail Miller Park at BYU.
With the mountains providing a scenic backdrop, the Miners punched out Herriman 1-2-and-3 thanks in part to senior Shelbee Jones, who was close to perfect through two innings.
Bingham [25-5] would add another run in the bottom of the third to increase the lead to 5-0 when junior Oakley Clark hit a single and then stole second base. Rian Howland then slapped a double, driving in Clark for the Miners’ only run of the inning.
Herriman scored in the bottom of the third inning to cut Bingham’s lead to 5-1—but the SLCC-bound Jones launched an RBI triple into the wall in center field to extend the Miners’ advantage to 6-1 to start off the fourth.
With a 7-1 lead in the top of the fifth thanks to timely defense, Jones’ arm started to wane. She walked a Herriman batter and gave up a double, putting runners at second and third base.
Bingham head coach Mikki Jackson sensed it was time for a change and put her arm around Jones and walked off the field with the senior, who to that point had been heroic for the Miners in what would be the last time she and several other seniors would wear a Bingham uniform.
It’s been a long road back for the Miners, who watched as their next-door neighbor Riverton not only lifted last year’s state championship—the Silverwolves won the last two.
Jones didn’t know at that point how the Miners would fare in this Game 2 showdown; nobody did.
But sophomore Brecka Larson, who one-hit Herriman in relief in game one of this 6A championship series, caught Herriman swinging on the very next pitch to record her first strikeout of Game 2.
Then Larson’s rise balls fanned the next batter on three straight pitches to end the threat and preserve that 7-1 lead for Bingham through five innings of play.
The Miners bats came alive in the top of the sixth as Charity Drake doubled into the gap in left center. Jones drew a walk. And Clark continued to have herself a day, as she slapped her fourth hit of the day, an RBI single. Another walk brought home Clark, giving the Miners a 9-1 lead.
Bingham’s defense was the player of the day, and series. In Game 1, the Miners literally had a 1.000 fielding percentage, as Drake — who missed most of last year with a serious injury — showed she was that crucial to Bingham’s title chances as the team’s first-string catcher.
Drake had seven total catches on pop-ups in Game 1. Larson herself had six catches and senior 2B SLCC-bound Braxtyn Hunter, four.
In Game 2, the Miners only had two errors and six out of eight again had picture-perfect days with 1.000 fielding percentages—numbers that helped Bingham out of two potential jams in the bottom of the sixth.
After the Miners scored two more runs to take an 11-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Herriman continued to fight for their sophomore teammate by loading the bases and then uncorking a grand slam home run from Weber State-bound senior Kiaira Smith to make it 11-5.
That led to Jackson turning back to Jones, who cleaned up that side of the inning. She and the rest of the Miners launched their gloves into the mountain air at BYU, state champions. λ