Thunder bashes three home runs, including grand slam, against Snow Canyon

Abby Black is welcomed by her Desert Hills teammates as she completes her two-run home run in the Thunder's 14-5 win at Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Feeling the sting of being shut out in their previous game, the Lady Thunder brought the lumber to their game at Snow Canyon Thursday, cracking three home runs, including a grand slam by Katelyn Philips, in taming the Warriors, 14-5.

Philips’ slam, which came in the top of the second inning, was followed four batters later by a two-run shot from Oakley Giacoletto. In the top of the seventh, Abby Black added her own two-run blast.

Desert Hills pitcher Brianna St. Clair picked up the complete-game victory against Snow Canyon, striking out 12, while also getting four hits at the plate, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Each of the home runs was hit off a different Snow Canyon pitcher and were the only extra-base hits for the Thunder, who also stroked 13 singles.

Just two days earlier, Desert Hills had been shut out by Region 9 powerhouse Cedar, 8-0, a game that Thunder coach KaCee McArthur characterized at the time as a learning opportunity, especially in regard to her team’s mindset on hitting.

It was a lesson “everyone took to heart, took it personal,” she said.

“We’re a better team than not scoring at all in a game, no matter who we play,” McArthur said. “The goal for this game was to hit better than we did then.

“I think they took it to heart and came in with a more offensive mindset from the beginning. We hit first and the mindset was that we’ve got to score early and often, and we’ll be OK.”

Desert Hills picked up a run in the first when Brianna St. Clair led off the game with an infield hit that richoceted off Snow Canyon pitcher Marley Moala. Philips sacrificed St. Clair to second and Tori Hinton drove her home with a single to center field.

In the second, however, the Thunder rolled.

Desert Hills outfielder Tori Hinton gets set to catch a long fly ball, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Morgynn Rosemeyer drew a walk to open the inning and Quincey Staheli laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached base when the Warriors mishandled it. Codi Olds walked to load the bases ahead of a run-scoring single by St. Clair, which left the bases still loaded. Philips cleared them with a drive over the center field fence to give the Thunder a 6-0 lead.

One out later, Hinton singled to left, and one out after that, Giacoletto also homered to center.

Desert Hills was back at it in the third. Staheli blooped a hit to left field, stole second and took third on a single by St. Clair, who went to second on the throw home. Staheli scored on a wild pitch and St. Clair came home on Philips’ hit to right field.

Snow Canyon brought in its third pitcher of the game, Payten Jensen, who held the Thunder scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, giving up a just two hits and striking out three.

Snow Canyon’s Emma Bingham slides into third ahead of the throw, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Desert Hills broke through against Jensen with an unearned run in the sixth. Abi Farrer led off with a single to center and Giacoletto tapped to the Warriors third baseman, who went for the force at second but overthrew the base. Farrer scored when the ball rolled nearly to the right field fence. The inning ended when Snow Canyon center fielder Natalie Gunn scooped up a single by Olds and cut down Giacoletto at the plate.

The Thunder started getting the measure of Jensen in the seventh. St. Clair led off with a single to right, stole second, went to third on a single by Addi Betts, who also stole second. St. Clair scored on a groundout and Black followed with a two-run home run to right-center.

St. Clair picked up the win on the mound, pitching a complete game and striking out 12. She surrendered two runs, one unearned, through six innings before wavering a bit in the seventh.

The Thunder’s Oakley Giacoletto looks to her third-base coach before stepping into the batter’s box, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018 | Photo by MIchael Rinker, St. George News

Snow Canyon squandered a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the first when Alex Demming reached base on an error by Thunder shortstop Philips. One out later, Moala singled, then she and Demming both advanced via steals. With two runners in scoring position, St. Clair struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Snow Canyon got on the board in the fourth. St. Clair struck out the first two batters but hit Megan Rogers with a pitch. An errant pickoff attempt by Thunder catcher Rosemeyer put Rogers into scoring position and McKenna Staheli plated her with a single.

Shaky defense in the fifth paved the way for the Warriors’ second run. Farrer led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Jael Wilde, who advanced to second when Thunder first baseman Olds mishandled a throw. One out later, third baseman Betts whiffed while trying to tag Wilde, who then scored on a sacrifice fly by Emma Bingham.

In the sixth, St. Clair struck out the side

But in the seventh, she walked the lead-off batter, hit the next one, then surrendered a run-scoring single to Moala. Bingham followed with a two-run single to close out the scoring.

Both teams are in action April 3 as the Thunder visit Pine View, while the Warriors host Dixie.

In other Region 9 action Thursday, Hurricane edged Pine View, and Canyon View dominated Dixie.

Email: mrinker@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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