By Kathy Howa, Head Coach
Softball practice started indoors at the Lincoln Street Campus gym as we watched it snow through the entire month of March. We never thought we would get outside and begin our season! With a brief break in the weather, we ventured out to compete in our first game and to have our first chance to be on an actual softball diamond as we faced 3A Juan Diego on their field. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was having none of it, and the skies opened up with rain and hail after we got in only two innings of play!
Even without having had any outdoor practice on our field, we were excited to be able to sneak in a league home game against North Summit. The team played well but dropped our home opener in seven hard-fought innings. Our next game was away at American Preparatory Academy in Draper, where our Winged Lions went on a hitting fest, beating the Eagles 21-7. North Summit’s field was still under a couple feet of snow, so we moved what was supposed to be a game played at their home field to ours at Sunnyside Park. What a game this one was, as the score see-sawed back and forth each inning, neither team able to gain an advantage. Though we battled hard and played an amazing game both defensively and at bat, we lost a heartbreaker in the eighth inning by a score of 13-12.
Next on the schedule was the Swing for Life Tournament, where the team faced many 4A, 5A, and 6A schools, gaining a lot of experience as we played eight games in two days. Our team did a fantastic job all weekend, not only on the field but also in their fundraising efforts for breast cancer research, raising over $4,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
Our Senior Night, and last home game, was against APA Draper and our team didn’t disappoint the crowd. Two double plays, amazing catches in the field, and a slugfest with the bats helped us come up with the win in the bottom of the seventh inning by a score of 13-12. Deja Shirkey hit a homerun and played like a champion at shortstop all year. Aileen Robles was a golden glove at her new position at second base. It was a joy to highlight these two seniors, as they have been great leaders and standout players for the team this year and for the past four seasons.
Our team qualified for the 2A state tournament and headed to Enterprise, where we faced Kanab in a first-round contest. Though our team played hard, we were defeated and thus eliminated from further postseason play, ending a season that was full of fun, joy, and lots of improvement.
Joining seniors Deja Shirkey and Aileen Robles on the 2023 team were Jane Borst, Emma Hare, Lilly Swindle, Lauren Bates, Phoebe LaBelle, Bb Earl Comeros, Abby Downs, Finley Bodeen, and Rebecca Miles.
Several players received postseason recognition. Deja Shirkey, Emma Hare, and Jane Borst were all named to the Region 17 All-Region team. Deja Shirkey not only excelled on the field, but her work in the classroom earned her Academic All-Region and Academic All-State honors as well.
At our end-of-season team celebration, awards recipients included Deja Shirkey and Emma Hare, Most Valuable; Lilly Swindle, Most Improved; Aileen Robles, Coaches’ Award; Lauren Bates, Lionheart Award; Jane Borst, Offensive MVP; and Bb Earl Comeros, Defensive MVP.
Assistant coaches Kendra Tomsic and Leslie Varoz and I congratulate all these players on a fun and successful season. With the bulk of the roster returning next year, we have high hopes for another successful campaign in the spring of 2024!