Utah HS softball player saves home run with acrobatic catch in state championship game

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A Utah high school outfielder went airborne over a fence to make a top-10 worthy play in a deciding state championship game.

Bear River High School centerfielder Olivia Taylor tracked a home run ball back over the fence, catapulted into the air while inside the playing field and completed the acrobatic catch while falling back over the fence for the out. 

Sam Farnsworth, the KSL-TV sports anchor in Salt Lake City who caught the play on video, is calling it the catch of the year.

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The shot by Tooele batter Caitlyn Marshall appeared to be a good 6-to-10 feet past the fence, but it wasn't quite far enough to escape Taylor's acrobatics in the fifth inning. 

Via the Standard-Examiner: 

"Yeah, my back does hurt a bit from that catch," Taylor said. "I think I just landed flat on my back, I'm not sure, I'd have to rewatch it."

Sophomore pitcher Kate Dahle called the catch worthy of being on ESPN.

"The first thing I asked her, 'Did that knock the wind out of you?' She says, 'Yeah just a little bit,'" Dahle said.

The play came in the fifth inning of gGame 2 in the 4A state championship series and preserved a 4-1 Bear River lead. They pushed runs across to open the game on back-to-back, two-out solo home runs by McCall Maxfield and Oaklie Maxfield that also sent the centerfielder beyond the fence, but with less success. 

Tooele came into Saturday having won the first game of the best-of-three series on Friday night. 

Bear River finished off the 4-2 win in Game 2 and went on to clinch its third title in the last five years (pandemic season excluded) and 10th overall in the deciding third game. The team led by as many as 13 and nearly mercy-ruled Tooele until it put a run across in the sixth. The final score was 14-6. 

It's the 10th championship in school history for Bear River. It's tied for most all-time in Utah with Tooele and Manti.