TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The West High softball team had to win three games on the final day of the 5A softball tournament to win the state title, and the Panthers came through in a big way.
After starting the day with a 6-1 win over Roy, the Panthers then swept a doubleheader from Bountiful, 13-2 and 17-5 to win its second state title in three years.
“We faced adversity throughout the whole year on top of going to the state tournament,” said head coach Keith Lopati. “They were resilient. They believed in one thing, and that was to stay together and nothing could beat us, and they showed it.”
Keisha White belted three of West High’s eight home runs in the championship game in an incredible display of power to win the rain-delayed tournament, which featured a 13-day layoff.
“After the weather canceled us out all week last week, we really just wanted to play,” White said. “Getting to play this week, with some semi-good weather, we just made the best of it. Being able to come out and be out here after not being able to be on the field for an entire week, it really made it worth it. This is the last inning I ever played with every girl on this team. It’s really a sad thing because we did grow up together. I’m just glad I got to go out with them.”
After two scoreless innings to begin the championship game, Daisy Taloa hit a 2-run home run to start the scoring spree. The Panthers scored nine runs in the third inning on five home runs.
West came into the tournament as the prohibitive favorites with a record of 25-1. But a stunning 2-1 loss to Roy on Wednesday put the Panthers in the one-loss bracket, forcing them to play three times on the final day.
Pitcher Mikayla Ulabarri was up to the task, pitching every inning of all three games.”
“She was lights out,” Lopati said. “She was an awesome pitcher and did everything we asked her to do on top of hitting for power. She did it all for us.”
Ulabarri, Cheyenee Su’e Su’e, Huntyr Ava and Jozie Vaenuku also hit home runs for the Panthers.