Payson softball stays alive in 4A playoffs | News, Sports, Jobs – Daily Herald

How close was the Payson softball team to seeing its season put in jeopardy in the first round of 4A bracket play on Wednesday?
About as close as it gets.
The Lions, the No. 6 seed, found themselves in a tight game against No. 3-seed Snow Canyon in the first game of the day at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex. Payson had got two outs, but the Warriors had runners in scoring position.
Then Snow Canyon hit a deep fly ball, one that had game-changing home run written all over it.
But Lion centerfielder Allie Callahan had other ideas.
She refused to be stopped by the fence, keeping her eye on the ball as she leapt to pull it out of the air before crashing down on the other side.
“It was awesome,” Payson head coach Makenzie Simons said. “She and all of our outfielders have been working on not fearing the fence, on being willing to go that extra mile. She was all in. She went for it. She saved the day on that one for sure.”
That dramatic out ended the inning and allowed the Lions to keep the momentum, eventually resulting in a 3-2 win in eight innings.
“The girls came out tough,” Simons said. “Defensively, we made big plays as a team and they were backing each other up. They were willing to lay it on the line and we are very proud of them for that.”
Payson advanced to face No. 2-seeded Desert Hills in the second game of the day and wasn’t able to stay as crisp. A couple of Lion miscues allowed the Thunder to have some big innings and eventually get the 9-1 win.
“It was hot and we got tired,” Simons said. “It takes a big push to go another seven innings.”
She felt like her young squad was getting used to the setting, which hopefully will help when they take the field again on Thursday.
“This is the furthest in state that we’ve been in a lot of years and so I think this is a new environment that we haven’t been in for a long time,” Simons said. “I think the biggest thing is we’re coming back stronger tomorrow. We’ll be rested and come back with a whole new attitude.”
Being one of the last six teams left in the 4A state tournament is a big deal for the Lions, one that is the product of Payson having an excellent season overall.
Simons credited her four seniors for fight through some hard times and setting the stage for the team’s success.
“They’ve have worked to build this program and to make it better than they found it,” Simons said. “We’ve talked a lot about this year on working as a team and working as a family. Whether your role is on the field or your role is off the field, we’re all going in it together and we’re all going to get a win together.
“They sat down at the beginning of the year and made goals, and they’ve just been checking them off throughout this entire year. They started with wanting to win region and now they’ve gone to wanting to win state. They want to go out and show people that a lot of good athletes are going through Payson.”
The Lions head into Thursday’s final day of bracket play needing three wins to reach the 4A title game. They first have to get past No. 7-seed Bear River, then defeat Desert Hills twice.
It may be a tall order, but Simons wants to see her team attack it with enthusiasm.
“We are hoping for a marathon,” Simons said. “The biggest thing that I told the girls is to not lose their fire. I want them to go all out. There is nothing to lose tomorrow. They should want it bad enough to make the other team earn it.”
Payson’s day on Thursday starts with facing the Bears at 10:30 a.m. If the Lions win, they would play the Thunder at 12:30 p.m. needing to win twice.
All of the games will take place at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex.
Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.
Copyright © Daily Herald | | 1200 Towne Centre Blvd. STE 1058, Provo, UT 84601


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *