SANDY — Ashley Kay knew it could be the last time she'd ever take the walk to the pitching circle on her home field at Alta High Thursday afternoon.
"I felt emotional but I also knew that we had it today," said the right-handed senior. "We had a really long talk the night before and got all of our emotions out. I felt today my team was fully there."
Well, she happened to be right. In a matchup to determine the second-seed in Region 3, Kay pitched a complete game shutout to guide the Hawks to a 6-0 win over Brighton — earning Kay and the rest of the seniors at least one more home game.
"It was huge," said Kay, who improved to 14-6 on the season. "Now we have a better seed and we won't go in playing as tough as teams as we probably would have. Too bad we couldn't take first."
The Hawks (17-7, 7-3) struck first in the bottom of the first after a bases-loaded walk pushed home the opening run.
Brighton (16-11, 7-3) wasn't short of opportunities. The Bengals stranded 15 total base runners, nine of which were in scoring position. However, Kay continuously delivered timely strikeouts and grounders to escape tricky situations.
"Nothing," Kay said when asked what she was thinking with multiple runners occupying third and second throughout the game. "I completely ignored them. I just went and threw my game."
The last of the Hawks offensive onslaught came courtesy of Lili Ertmann in the third inning. She dribbled a hot grounder down the third base line. With her explosive speed, she rounded the bases and turned what typically produces a single into an RBI triple.
Then, on an errant pitch the following at-bat, Ertmann whistled down from third, sliding into home for the 6-0 lead.
With the win, the Hawks will meet the third place team from Region 1, whereas Brighton, entering the state playoffs as the third team from Region 3, will play the second ranked team from Region 1. Both games will take place at home sites on Tuesday, May 15 at 4 p.m.