4A softball: Wallace wills Ridgeline to 2nd title in 3 years

10 photos
Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO — One year ago, Ridgeline's softball team watched in heartache as the Riverhawks took Game 1 of the 4A championship series before Bear River rallied to win back-to-back games for the Bears' 11th state title.

Anne Wallace wasn't going to let that happen again.

The junior catcher went 2-for-2 with a walk, a home run, a double and four RBI as the Riverhawks pulled away from Desert Hills 8-2 for their second championship in three seasons Saturday at BYU's Gail Miller Field.

"All I was thinking was, I've been in this position before. Just got to put the ball in play and my team will follow up behind me," Wallace said. "That's all I was thinking about.

"We just had to stay calm, and go play," she added.

Ellie Pond, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in Friday's Game 1 win, added another stellar performance. The senior who has signed with Salt Lake Community College went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and two runs scored, and didn't allow a ball past her in middle infield.

"I love Ellie," Wallace said. "She has great energy, she brings energy to the team, and her defense shows she's always on point. She gets the ball in play, as well. Ellie's a great player, and she'll do great things in the future."

Starting pitcher Bri Gardiner, the 5-foot-10 freshman with a 0.77 ERA, scattered four hits with six strikeouts to earn her 30th win in the circle.

But Ridgeline (30-1) faced a moment of adversity from Saturday's opponent, a Thunder squad making its first appearance in the championship game that had just one senior in the starting lineup.

Ridgeline struck first with a pair of runs scored by Wallace and Pond in the first inning. But Desert Hills (25-5) came right back, pulling even with aggressive base running before Bailey Lee tied the game on a passed ball in the fourth.

"My memory came right back to last year. You can't live there, but boy does it wake you up and gives you a little fear factor," Ridgeline coach Michael Anderson said of the inning. "That did come to us. But Anne Wallace came in after that happened, and she goes, 'we've got this one. We've got them where we want them.' That's what you got is a kid like that, who hits a bomb and then a double down the gap. That's the type of kid that competes at that level. She picked us up — all of us."

That's when Wallace went to work, pulling her team together in the dugout and giving a simple message: Not this time.

Tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Wallace smashed a two-run homer that easily cleared the center-field fence to help the Riverhawks retake the lead.

"I honestly didn't know it would go over; I thought it was at the fence," she said. "But I'm so happy it went over."

Wallace doubled the advantage in her next at-bat, scoring two with a standing double down the left-field line that pushed Ridgeline's advantage to 7-2 as part of a four-run sixth that put the Riverhawks back in control for good.

"It's almost harder to win the second one," Anderson said. "We snuck up in that first (championship), but with your second one, people know you're coming. When you're 30-1, they know where you're at and you get everybody's best game. That changes things a little bit."

Riley Greene went 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead Desert Hills.


Most recent High School stories

Related topics

High School SportsHigh SchoolSports
KSL.com BYU and college sports reporter


From first downs to buzzer beaters, get KSL.com’s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast