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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton wins tie-breaker to secure final softball playoff spot

May 23, 2018 11:22AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Brighton softball team reached the state tournament for the first time since 2013 after defeating Timpview in a tie-breaking play-in game. (Photo by Jenivere Stotesbery) 

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

The Brighton softball team barely sneaked into the Class 5A state tournament, but the Bengals will take it.

Brighton ended the regular season with a 4-6 record in Region 7 and in a tie with Timpview for fourth place in the five-team league. Only four teams for the region qualify for the state tournament, and because the two teams split their games during the season, they had to settle things on the field for a winner-advances game.

Brighton prevailed in the May 10 play-in game, 13-3, in a contest held on the Bengals’ home field. It was a different story from the last time the two teams met when, on April 19, Brighton allowed 14 runs in a one-run loss.

The pitching and fielding was stellar this time around, and it helped send the Bengals to the state tournament for the first time since 2013.

Brighton fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but it quickly regrouped and picked up five runs in the second inning. After Timpview made things interesting in the third inning with a pair of runs, the Bengals responded with two runs of their own and then kept the Thunderbirds off the board the rest of the way. Brighton added four runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth, ending the game an inning early with the 10-run mercy rule.

Aleya Stotesbery was two for four from the plate and drove in a pair of runs. She also smacked a home run and contributed a double in the clinching victory.

Brighton wouldn’t have even had the chance to play its way into the tournament had it not defeated Jordan in back-to-back games to end the region schedule. The Bengals routed the Beetdiggers 13-0 on May 3 and 12-0 on May 4 to pick up league wins numbers three and four. Brighton also had region victories over Alta (16-13 on March 20) and Timpview (14-5 on March 22).

The Bengals saw state tournament action for the first time in five years when they played at Maple Mountain on May 15. The Golden Eagles were the first-place team from Region 8, winning all 10 of their league games.

Brighton went toe-to-toe with Maple Mountain for five innings and even held a 2-0 advantage in the top of the fifth. That’s when things unraveled.

Maple Mountain knotted the score at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Then, the Golden Eagles exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early in a 12-2 rout.

The Bengals went to the one-loss bracket of the double-elimination tournament, where it played at Murray, the second-place team from Region 6. Brighton lost 15-5 to end their season.