Chelsea takes down No. 1 Springville

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

SPRINGVILLE – By no stretch of the imagination is the 2017 Chelsea softball team bad, but after winning 12 of 14 to start the season and being the reigning state champion in Class 6A some might say their 9-11 stretch since then is a tad bit of a slide from where they could be with the amount of talent they have.

On Monday, April 24, the Hornets silenced those critics with a flashy performance against 5A No. 1 Springville to not only remind people they are the reigning state champion, but to gather some momentum as they head to the postseason looking to repeat.

Coming into the game, Springville had won 13 of their last 15 games and were looking like one of the best teams in the state, but Chelsea had their own agenda and gave the Tigers their second consecutive loss in a 3-1 win.

The teams could’ve gotten away with playing a one-inning game as all of the runs came in the fifth inning making six of the seven innings scoreless.

Chelsea’s Sarah Cespedes and Springville’s Abby Swaney both brought their “A” game, which was the number one reason for the lack of an offensive outburst.

Cespedes picked up the win in the circle throwing a complete game allowing just four hits and one run while striking out four batters. Although Swaney picked up a loss, she did everything she could to put her team in position for the win throwing 192 pitches and only giving up five hits and three runs while striking out a game-high eight batters.

After only picking up combined two hits, both by Chelsea, in the first four innings of play, the Hornets finally broke the game open in the top of the fifth.

The inning started with a ground out, but Chloe Eidson picked up a single in the next at bat. When a strikeout followed, it looked like the Tigers were going to get out of the inning unscathed, but Allie Miller came to the plate next and battled. In a 3-2 count she took a single and drove it to left field to put two baserunners on for Brooke Burback.

In another tough at bat and 3-2 county, Burback was patient and waited for her pitch. When she got it, she took advantage by driving a deep fly ball over the left field wall to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead and their only runs of the game.

Springvile came to the plate in the bottom half of the inning poised to answer. They started the inning with a double from Annie Nolan and a single from Faith Myers to put runners on the corner with no outs.

The benefit of playing with a three-run cushion was that Chelsea didn’t need to focus on the lead runner and could worry more about getting a double play to limit the damage, which is just what they did as Katie Emmal grounded into a 6-3 double play. Although one run scored, the Hornets were able to get the final out of the inning during the next at bat to limit the damage.

Chelsea was able to hang on over the final two innings for a big 3-1 win, which is sure to give them a confidence boost.

Miller went 1.000 at the plate for the game going 2-2 with two walks and one run scored. Burback led the way with a game-high three RBIs thanks to her fifth inning bomb. Camryn Smith and Eidson also had his in the game.  Chelsea moved to 22-13 after the win and will have two more regular season games on the schedule.