Darby's dominance just too much for Wildcats

A slight case of sunburn on her face was Spanish Springs pitcher Mallary Darby's only worry Saturday.

"It bothers me. I get red real easy," she said of working through five innings in 98-degree heat.

Darby still turned in another dominant performance, tossing a one-hitter to carry the Cougars to an 11-0 victory over Las Vegas for the Class 4A state softball championship at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park.

"It's like living a dream," Darby said. "We've definitely got a lot of talent on this team and a lot of heart, and that gets us far."

Spanish Springs (35-1) won three state tournament games in two days by a combined score of 24-0.

Darby finished a perfect season at 21-0. In the final three games, she allowed one hit and struck out 34 over 15 innings.

The Wildcats (23-8) finally got to her when Darleen Fernandez doubled in the fourth inning. But by that time, the outcome was obvious.

The Cougars, who led 4-0 after two innings, busted the game open by scoring seven runs in the third.

Kimberly Wojtkowiak hit a three-run homer off Las Vegas starter Jennifer Gliddon, prompting Wildcats coach Tresa Schilder to make a pitching change and bring in Tajia Law.

The first two batters singled against Law before Jaci Carlsen ripped a three-run homer.

Darby, who entered the tournament with a 0.44 ERA, was perfect through three innings. She struck out the side in the fifth to finish with nine strikeouts.

"We don't see many pitchers like her who throw a good rise-ball and mix it up, and unfortunately we weren't able to adjust to it," Schilder said.

"We hate losing, but if we're going to lose in a game like this, that's the kind of team that I would like to lose to. They hit the ball well, they play good defense and they have good pitching. They have an all-around team."

Spanish Springs was eliminated the past two years by McQueen. Darby, a junior, said that was all the motivation she needed.

"The past couple years we've lost it. It was taken away from us, so we definitely didn't take anybody lightly. We wanted it so bad," she said.

"My adrenaline was going. I don't care how many runs we got, you (have) just got to stay focused because anything can happen."

Las Vegas advanced to the championship round by defeating Shadow Ridge 3-1 in the losers' bracket final earlier Saturday.

Gliddon got the win by allowing four hits and striking out four in seven innings.

Law and Fernandez hit back-to-back doubles in the third inning to put the Wildcats up 3-0.

Those were the only extra-base hits allowed by Mandy Harmon, the starter for Shadow Ridge (27-7).

"We have a lot to be proud of because people didn't expect us to get this far," Schilder said of Las Vegas, which also lost to Spanish Springs 11-0 on Friday.