ST. GEORGE — Desert Hills thundered to a resounding 15-0 home win over Dixie on Tuesday night and started the Region 9 softball schedule off with a bang.

Desert Hills’ Lulu West pitches against Dixie in a Region 9 softball game, St. George, Utah, March 12, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“They were ready. They’ve been working really hard,” Desert Hills coach Heidi Taylor told St. George News. “We were pretty excited to start region. It was good. It was fun.”

Desert Hills (6-1 overall, 1-0 Region 9) shared the region championship with Snow Canyon last year after both teams went 11-1.

This year’s Thunder team has only one senior on the roster but has plenty of firepower and an outstanding young pitcher.

Sophomore Lulu West only needed to work three innings against Dixie (2-5, 0-1) and she threw an efficient no-hitter.

West struck out eight batters and induced a ground out to record her nine outs. She missed a perfect game after hitting a batter in the third inning. 

West was overpowering on the bump and confident at the plate, where she belted a third-inning double. A vigorous off-season schedule prepared her to be ready for the start of Region 9 play.

Desert Hills’ Riley Greene scores against Dixie in a Region 9 softball game, St. George, Utah, March 12, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“She spent a lot of time in the weight room. She spent time perfecting her craft, what she already has, the mental part of it,” Taylor said. “She did a lot of traveling, she played a lot. So I think those reps have really helped her.”

West got plenty of run support from a Thunder offense that cranked out 12 hits in three innings.

Senior Campbell Tate homered in the win and Riley Greene and Hallee Heath both went yard and drove in three runs apiece for Desert Hills.

Taylor said it was awesome to see the homers but the Thunder is not relying on the long ball to score all of its runs.

“No, we don’t even want that. That’s not what we focus on,” she said. “We just want line drives, gap to gap. If you swing it well, it’s going to take care of itself.”

Jayla Ybright doubled twice and drove in two Thunder runs. Nelyana Brinagh doubled and drove in two runners as well.

Bailey Lee and Payten Benson rounded out the offense for Desert Hills and recorded solo RBI’s. 

Cedar 20, Pine View 5

In Cedar City, the Reds pounded 18 hits during a convincing win over Pine View.

Cedar’s Kaitlin Bulloch of bats against Pine View pitcher Alexis Pollock in a Region 9 softball game, Cedar City, Utah, March 12, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, Cedar City News / St. George News

Mya Bishoff, Sadie Parson and Shaylee Johnson each had three hits for Cedar (3-4, 1-0), with the trio being collectively responsible for eight RBIs. 

Parson and Bishoff each hit one home run.

Pine View (0-4, 0-1) scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning when starting pitcher Parson walked in a run with the bases loaded, scoring Kaylee Wood. 

Parson then recovered by striking out the next two batters to end the inning.

As rain and snow continued to fall in the bottom of the first, Cedar sent 13 batters to the plate, with five players collecting hits, three walking and two getting hit by a pitch. 

By the time the inning ended, Cedar held a commanding 7-1 lead.

The Reds went on to add five more runs in the second, one in the third and seven more in the fourth and final inning. When the Reds went ahead by 15 runs with nobody out in the fourth, it invoked the mercy rule and ended the contest early.

Parson was the winning pitcher for Cedar, allowing five runs on three hits while walking nine and striking out seven.

– written by Jeff Richards

Hurricane 5, Crimson Cliffs 3

At Hurricane, the Tigers (6-1, 1-0) broke a 3-3 tie game in the bottom of the fifth inning when Aniston Hutchings and Austin Terry each hit RBI singles.

In the top of the seventh, Crimson Cliffs (2-3, 0-1) started off with a single but then the Mustangs hit into a double play. 

That was followed by a strikeout to end the game. 

Hutchings pitched the entire game and picked up the win, allowing three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out five.

– written by Jeff Richards

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