6A softball: Larson finds zone, leads Bingham by Riverton in championship opener

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PROVO — Eventually, Bingham's Brecka Larson took over in the first game of the 6A softball championship series and the junior pitcher found her zone.

The Miners carried her until she found it, though.

The southpaw with a 20-4 record and a 2.45 ERA spun a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts as Bingham stunned top-seeded Riverton 3-1 Thursday evening at BYU's Miller Field.

Larson also went 3-for-3 with a walk at the plate for the Miners (23-5), and Brooklyn Fogg had two walks and a run scored to help take a 2-1 lead in the first inning and never let up.

"I feel like I just stayed in my rhythm really well today," said Larson, who credited her riseball for the gem. "I just made sure I was doing everything the same every time so I could get that pitch good."

Riverton (25-5) swept the season series of region rivals that have accounted for the last three 6A state championships, including a 12-4 win on the Silverwolves home field.

That allowed for nothing but respect between the two programs whose players often played together during the summer months due to the proximity of the two schools located just 3.4 miles apart.

But the winner of Game 1 of the championship series always has the advantage, something the defending champion Miners knew they may need in Friday's season finale. If Riverton wins Game 2 of the championship series Friday, a winner-take-all third contest will follow.

"We were definitely excited," Larson said. "We were working pretty hard to beat them. It's nice to finally make it happen."

Bingham struck first in a unique way, scoring two runs on just one hit in the opening frame after Fogg and Shyann Banasky each came around following a walk.

Tessa Hogue pulled one back for Riverton in the bottom of the first with one of her two hits. But Larson pitched a shutout the rest of the way, limiting the Silverwolves to just two hits before Kali Clark drove in Oakley Clark with an RBI single in the top of the sixth to give Bingham an insurance run.

"I even felt before the game like she had a different demeanor," Bingham coach Mikki Jackson said of Larson. "I felt like she had a tiger's instinct; there was a focus in here. And once she got that little bit of a lead from her teammates, she started to smell the blood. She'll often get right into a rhythm that allows her to stay in it.

"These guys (Riverton) are big hitters, and to hold off a great team like that, she was obviously doing some great stuff."

The Miners also played exquisite defense, picking off two runners in the final five innings to keep the No. 1 overall seed out of scoring position.

"That was a solid performance by both teams," Jackson said. "Both teams are great teams, and both teams played really well. We just got a couple of early ones, but if you look at that, it was two equally matched teams."

Peyton Sanchez had five strikeouts in her own five-hitter for Riverton, which will try to stave off elimination Friday at 1:30 p.m. MT at BYU.

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