Softball captures first home win

Photo credit: Gabi Campbell

Utah Valley softball has had its run through the ringer and come close in many games this season. The Wolverines have flirted with multiple victories at home and finally got the evasive win by defeating the Santa Clara Broncos on April 10.

After losing to in-state rival BYU 9-0 in five innings, Utah Valley was looking to gain some momentum before opening up conference play at home. Santa Clara looked to be that fix for the Wolverines’ ailment. However, the Broncos jumped to an early four-run lead in the first inning and looked to spoil the first home victory.

Sophomore Kailey Christensen had only pitched five innings previously this season before pitching all six innings in the game. After allowing all four runs on two hits in the first, she did not allow another hit until the fifth inning, and allowed just two over the final five full innings.

“Kailey was a little nervous in the first inning, but came out in the second inning and shut them down the rest of the game,” head coach Nikki Palmer said. “She can be very good for us going forward.”

Despite a four-run hole, Utah Valley answered back with six runs in the bottom half of the first inning. The six-run burst was sparked by a triple from Morgan Summers, scoring Dynasty Luvai from first base. Summers later scored on a single from Brittney Vansway.

UVU would eventually load the bases, getting another run when Kelli Fox worked a walk. Amanda Robinson singled to center field, driving in Hailey Kofler before another walk from Debra Lovell to put the Wolverines out in front 6-4. Lovell would hit a solo blast in the second to add to the lead.

With two more runs in the fourth, Utah Valley continued to add to the score and only needed a few more runs to give them the run rule for the victory heading into the sixth inning.

Dara Rahm came in as a pinch-hitter along with Summers, both of whom led off the inning with back-to-back singles and advanced into scoring position after a double steal in Megan Peay’s ensuing at-bat. Peay then delivered a two-RBI single, bringing both baserunners into score when the ball found the outfield grass. Kofler then doubled to center, scoring pinch-runner Megan Ventura.

With one on and the Wolverines now needing just two runs to end the game an inning early, Vansway swung on and drove the ball deep over in left-center, giving the Wolverines a thrilling home victory.

“The girls brought it hard yesterday at practice after a bit of a setback on Tuesday, and it showed today,” Palmer said. “Everybody came out and swung the bats well. We had some key pinch-hits at the end of the game and Brittney and Morgan Summers stayed hot all game.”

The Wolverines will hope to continue improving and gaining momentum by getting back into the conference games against Grand Canyon University and in-state foe Utah at Wolverine Field.

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