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Morgan softball hosts playoff, wins 4-3 over Richfield

May 14, 2024 08:52AM ● By Liisa London Mecham

The team lines up to congratulate Eva Birkeland after she hit a home run in the playoff game. Birkeland was also the winning pitcher in the game. Photos courtesy of Kristen Toone

It’s been quite the season for Morgan’s softball team! The Lady Trojans enjoyed the top spot in the 3A State Softball RPI rankings earlier in the season, they earned the right to host a playoff pod for the first time with a No. 4 seed, and they won their pod game 4-3 over Richfield to advance to the State Championships in Spanish Fork May 9-11.  

Head Coach Billy Peterson shared, “This is my ninth year of coaching, and this is the best seed we’ve ever had. I think it’s probably the best seed in school history since being included in 3A.”

“We have a really good team, regardless of the fact that we don’t have any seniors this season,” he continued. “These girls are all great athletes and very committed. This is the first team I’ve coached in which we have a full lineup of players who have competitive softball experience, so they definitely understand what it takes to compete and to win.”

In their playoff game against Richfield, Morgan rallied from down 3-1 to win the game 4-3. Richfield opened up with two runs in the top of the first inning before Morgan came back to narrow the lead to 2-1. Another run for the Wildcats in the top of the second gave them the 3-1 lead. After a scoreless third inning, Morgan added two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie up the game.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Trojans earned the go-ahead run and held off the Wildcats to win and advance.  

In the game Eva Birkeland was the winning pitcher, striking out seven batters in five innings. Birkeland also led the hitting going 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs. Summer Bangerter and Callie Averett both added doubles.

Coach Peterson praised his players’ ability to stay calm and fight back when they are behind. “Like any team, we’ve gone through some struggles, and they’ve had to learn to fight and get themselves back up in the saddle after getting thrown. Faith has played a crucial role in their success, and they are in a great position going into this weekend’s state tournament. I’m proud to be coaching these girls and have tremendous faith in all of them!”

At the Spanish Fork Softball Complex, the true double elimination tournament continues Thursday with Morgan facing the Carbon Dinos at 10 am. A win in this game moves them to Friday play, and a loss would pit them against Manti at 2:30 pm Thursday. A win over Manti would also advance them to Friday play. 

In their two previous meetings this season, the Trojans split with the Dinos 1-1. In the first match-up April 13 at the Payson Icebreaker Tournament, Morgan prevailed. Four days later, the Trojans traveled to Price for an April 17 match-up and fell 10-5 to Carbon.  

Since their loss to Carbon last month, the team has racked up a number of wins against tough opponents to prepare them for postseason play. With a 16-8 season record, Morgan has found the winning combination of players and determination to win.

Coach Peterson praised the support his team has received this season from many sources. “I would also like to thank all the parents who have dedicated their time and financial resources to help their girls play this game and to the other coaches who have volunteered so much of their time to make this season possible.”

“Coaching is oftentimes a thankless job, but seeing the girls develop and become friends and compete as a team and learn how to overcome adversity makes it all worthwhile for me. These are the important lessons that shape the rest of their lives. I hope these girls will always remember the value of working hard for a common goal! λ

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