Braves anxious to recover from ‘lost’ softball seasonApr 05, 2021 11:59AM ● By Lynn Averett|
With 2020 being a lost season for all Utah high school spring sport athletes, there’s a lot of excitement in 2021 as softball begins at Bountiful High.
Coach Butch Latey starts his 17th year coaching Bountiful girls softball and his 13th as head coach. “I love coaching here at Bountiful and it’s great working with the girls. They’re dedicated, willing to learn, hard working and strive to succeed in not only softball but all aspects of life,” Latey said.
The Braves are replacing seven seniors from last year’s team but have a solid returning core group.
Starting at second is senior Livi Arona. “Livi started as a sophomore and is solid both offensively and defensively. As a sophomore, she hit .380 and is one of our better hitters,” said Latey.
Senior Annie Salazar is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder. “Annie is exceptionally fast, a good hitter and an excellent pitcher,” said Latey. “Being left-handed is also a huge advantage as there are few left-handed pitchers in region or throughout the state. Many right-handed hitters struggle against left-handed pitchers.”
Junior Shiloh Johnson moves from second to shortstop. “Shiloh is one of our best hitters and an excellent defensive player,” said Latey. “Shiloh is moving to shortstop and replacing one of our best players from last year. We’re depending on her leadership and athletic ability.”
Sophomore Eva Stoddard pitches and plays infield. “I would rank Eva as one of the top three pitchers in the state in any classification,” said Latey.
Senior Shambrae Maestas is an experienced pitcher and outfielder. “Shambrae is a good hitter and is a four-year starter. We’re also looking to her for leadership,” said Latey.
“Last season, we were only able to get in one game before COVID shut everything down. That game was against Roy and they jumped on us 3-0 early. I put in Eva and she took over the game, throwing 140 pitches and striking out 12 as we came from behind to win 7-3. Shiloh also had three key hits in the game. We definitely had high hopes last year as that was one of the best teams that I’ve coached. Unfortunately, the kids weren’t able to show it on the field. Last year was devastating for everyone. Those that were affected by COVID and all the athletes who lost a year of high school sports,” said Latey.
Looking to region play, Farmington is expected to be a contender.
“Farmington should be good as they have an excellent 6’3” 180 pound pitcher that I consider one of the top three pitchers in the state. A matchup between her and Eva should be fun to watch. As for us, we’re younger this year and we’ll be relying on more freshmen. We may struggle a little early in the season but we’ll improve each game and before the season ends we’ll be a good team,” he said.
The Braves home games are played behind Millcreek Junior High School.