San Juan upsets Duchesne in softball second round but season ends in back-to-back losses

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
The San Juan High School softball team traveled to Spanish Fork for the 2A Utah State Softball second round on Thursday, May 9 anticipating the toughest game of the season against #2 Duchesne.
Coming into the matchup the 23-5 Eagles had won eight in a row and over the course of the past three seasons they had crushed San Juan in eight straight blowouts, including three this season.
But the Broncos were focused and hungry for an upset. They knew what they had to do, they trusted in their ability to do it, and what happened on Field #4 at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex that morning shocked the 2A Utah softball world.
San Juan put together their best game in recent memory. With a complete defensive and offensive effort, they refused to quit when they were down, and it paid off in a major way.
Trailing 5-2 after two innings the Broncos came to the plate in the top of the third and proceeded to score six runs to storm into the lead.
From that point on they played lights-out softball, holding Duchesne scoreless for five straight innings to complete an amazing 9-5 upset win over the 2022 2A champs.
After allowing five runs in the first two innings sophomore pitcher Khatira Keith settled down to throw a complete game, allowing just four hits while striking out two in seven innings.
It was a full team effort. The defense behind Keith was beyond reliable. San Juan didn’t commit a single error in the win while Duchesne committed three.
The Broncos racked up 11 hits and all nine of their runs were earned. Keith helped out her own cause at the plate, driving in a team-high three runs. She was 2-for-4 on the day.
Morgann McPherson was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the win. Trinity Whatcott and Sadie Cosby both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. One of Whatcott’s hits was a home run.
Averie Gilson was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Madden Perkins got the remaining RBI on a sacrifice play.
On Friday, May 10 San Juan was riding the high of their win the previous day, but unfortunately they came up against a hot Beaver team that eventually went on to finish second in the tournament.
The Broncos got in some early trouble, falling behind 2-0 after one inning and 5-2 after two. But they stopped the bleeding to hold the Beavers scoreless in the third inning.
The Beaver defense held strong though, and simply wouldn’t allow San Juan to get anything going. In the fourth inning Beaver’s offense began to wake up when they added a run to make the score 6-2.
They broke through in the fifth inning to plate three more and then they closed out the game with three runs in the sixth for a walk-off 12-2 win by mercy rule.
The loss dropped San Juan into the one-loss quarterfinals where they came up against Parowan. The Rams had strung together two straight wins after losing to Altamont in the second round of the tournament and unfortunately the Broncos weren’t able to slow them down.
It was a very tight battle for almost five innings. The teams traded runs in the third before San Juan scored one in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.
But Parowan exploded in the bottom of the fifth to score ten runs and seize an 11-2 lead. From that point the Broncos were able to stave off the mercy rule but they just couldn’t get the bats working against Madi Adams, one of the toughest pitchers in the state.
The Rams held San Juan scoreless for their final two at bats to close out an 11-2 win and end the Broncos’ season. The girls were 16-11-1 and though the season didn’t finish like they wanted it to, they can most definitely hold their heads high after another excellent year.
Stat-wise Trinity Whatcott led the team offensively with a .464 batting average. She was a very impressive 32-for-69 with a team-high 31 runs batted in. She hit three home runs, three triples, and nine doubles on the season.
Amazingly Morgann McPherson and Sadie Cosby were both an identical 20-for-54 on the season for .370 batting averages. McPherson had five doubles and 20 RBIs and Cosby had four doubles and 13 RBIs.
Averie Gilson led the Broncos when it came to extra-base hits. She tallied 13 doubles, three triples, and a couple home runs, driving in 27 runs in the process. She was 25-for-72 for a very solid .347 batting average.
Elise Dalley hit .310 for San Juan with three doubles, three triples, and a homer. She was 18-for-58 with 15 RBIs. Synessa Atcitty was 17-for-55 for a .309 average. She hit three doubles, a home run, and drove in 12 runs.
Madden Perkins hit .306 with three doubles, a triple, and a team-high four dingers. She was 19-for-62 with 19 RBIs. Khatira Keith was 14-for-46 at the plate for a .304 average with three doubles, a triple, and 14 RBIs.
Elizabeth Palmer was 11-for-52 for a .212 average with three doubles, a homer, and 12 RBIs. Worth mentioning is Miley Harrison. Though she only played in 12 games she was excellent in that time. She was 9-for-26 for a .346 average with a double, a homer, and seven RBIs.
San Juan stole a fairly impressive 84 bases this season. Madden Perkins led the way with 15, Elizabeth Palmer got 13, and Morgann McPherson swiped 12.
The Broncos got some excellent pitching this year also. Trinity Whatcott pitched 63 innings, allowing just 50 earned runs for a 5.56 ERA. She was 8-4 on the season and struck out 89 batters.
Khatira Keith pitched 41.1 innings, allowing 51 earned runs for an 8.64 average. She struck out 23 batters and collected a 5-4 record.
And Averie Gilson pitched 11.2 innings, allowing 19 earned runs for an 11.4 average. She struck out eight batters.
Following the conclusion of the season San Juan Head Coach Mike Bowers offered several thoughts on his team and their year.
“San Juan softball is on course to become the powerhouse it once was,” he said. “Our young ladies improve every year and gain ground on the competition through hard work and determination.
“We put everything into the journey, not the destination. We value hard work, dedication, daily improvement, and being the best teammate possible.
“During the season we have the opportunity to teach and coach valuable life skills. We teach players to deal with failure and adversity and to control what they can control – attitude, effort, and hustle for example.
“We teach players to value the recovery process when things don’t go as planned. Softball is a master class on how to learn from failure.
“The beauty of focusing on the process will help these young ladies become influential in future endeavors.
“When a program hasn’t been successful for a while it takes hard work and something special to happen that turns the corner for future success.
“We will look back on this year and especially the Duchesne game as the turning point for San Juan softball. Our girls played an absolute gem of a game and put that losing streak to an end.
“I am very proud of the girls and look forward to the future. They were an absolute blast to coach this season.”

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday