Softball teams ready to play … when they canMar 16, 2023 01:27PM ● By Catherine Garrett
Softball players from last spring take a swing. The weather has made it difficult to start this season. Photos by Roger V. Tuttle
Head coach Todd Street, who is in his fourth year at Davis welcomes back seven key returners in
seniors Nina Attanasio, Ellie Black, Abby Olsen and Laney Tuft along with juniors Jada Chilton, Sydney Marrelli and Rayleigh Starnes to a program hoping to “get better every day” and have a winning season after two sub-.500 campaigns.
“We want to compete in every at-bat and every pitch and do all we can to give ourselves a chance to win each game,” Street said.
Newcomers Hadlee Isaacs and Libby Miller, both sophomores, and freshmen Jewel Korth and Serena Roth will also be looked to by Street to contribute to the Darts team on the field.
Davis’ scheduled start to the season – which originally included games with Box Elder and Northridge – was delayed due to the snow, but the Darts were able to head south to the St. George Warm-Up Elite tournament March 10-11. The Darts picked up wins over Canyon View, Altamont and Granger – outscoring opponents 51-7 – while losing a close one 12-10 to Virgin Valley, Nev. Tuft led Davis with 11 RBIs on the weekend while Korth (eight RBIs), Starnes (seven), Black (six) and Chilton (five) offense with other “great efforts batting and fielding,” according to Street from Isaacs, Olsen and Sydney Marrelli with a “good overall effort pitching” from Black, Roth, Nina Attanasio and Katie Klaumann.
Also on the preseason slate is Woods Cross, Roy, Lone Peak and Bountiful before Region 1 home-and-away games with Layton, Fremont, Weber, Syracuse, Clearfield and Farmington.
Also on the DHS team this season are senior Abby Hicks; juniors Gracie George and Lauryn Hall; sophomores Regan Caldwell, Tempe Haslam, Hadlee Isaacs, Katie Klaumann and Emma Worthington; and freshmen Chloe Peery, Koryn Mafi and Adelyn Turpin.
Street is being assisted this season on the coaching staff by Rainy Dold, Bobby Sutherland and Shelby Tyteca along with team manager Brynlee Beckstrand.
Farmington High begins the season with a new head coach but a familiar face to them as Haleigh Mortensen-Morales was with the Phoenix program as an assistant in 2022.
“I am stoked to be coaching at Farmington,” Mortensen-Morales said. “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I am truly impressed with the girls and their families that are a huge support to the program. I really can't express how excited I am to be here and to be a part of building this program.”
Senior Courtney Christiansen, who was an Honorable Mention All-State catcher a year ago, along with seniors Kate Hansen and Elle Mortensen and juniors Lexi Crowley, Madison Kelker and Nev Carrasquel return to lead the team on the field this year.
Mortensen-Morales said there was an “amazing turnout” for tryouts and she is excited for the strong freshman class that emerged and what they can add to the program.
The off-season workouts focused on fundamentals and strength training as Mortensen-Morales said she “wanted to work from the ground up.”
Also on the FHS squad this year will be seniors Riley Eckhardt, Eva O’Brien and Lisa Rasmussen; juniors Hannah Barton, Ryann Bennion and Lilly Nielson; sophomores Lola Ogzewalla and Brooklyn Wright; and freshmen Ruby Andrus, Kiley Gazafy, Claire Hansen, Megan Hoskins, Ella Nielson, Leah Pease-Johnson, Morgan Rogers and Rylin Toone.
Mortensen-Morales will be assisted on the coaching staff by John Mortensen and Brittany Seupule.
“This season I would like to compete and have fun,” said Mortensen-Morales. “We truly have a great group of girls on the team this year and we can’t wait to compete. As a coaching staff we are beyond excited to get the season started.”
Mortensen-Morales brings a lifetime of softball to the Phoenix program, having played for Weber High – winning state in 2012 as a starting sophomore for the Warriors team. She competed collegiately at BYU-Hawaii until injuries ended her playing career.
She got into the coaching ranks through the influence of her dad, John, who has coached her since she was 12 and will assist her this year, and wants to pass on her “love and passion for the sport.” “Softball has taught me so many life lessons and I have had so many great coaches become role models to me, I want to pass on my passion and knowledge for the game,” she said. “I believe in teaching mental toughness and that we can do hard things and we can have fun while doing them.”
Farmington began the season at the St. George Warm-up Elite tournament March 10 and played two one-run games before rain washed away the rest of their games. The Phoenix squad defeated West 7-6, coming back from a 6-0 deficit after two innings to win with seven runs over the next two innings. An 8-7 loss to Bonneville ended their showing at the tournament. Lisa Rasmussen recorded four RBIs to lead the team.
This season, Farmington is also scheduled to face West, Bonneville, Timpanogos, Galena and Bishop Kelly before playing Morgan and Bear River among home-and-away Region 1 matchups with Syracuse, Layton, Fremont, Weber, Clearfield and Davis.
Bountiful High’s Eva Stoddard, the First Team All-State pitcher who signed with College of Southern Idaho, returns as the ace for the Redhawks this season who hope to again be playing in 5A’s final four – where they have reached since the 2018 campaign.
“She’s our main leader and is all excited to get things going for us,” said head coach Butch Latey, who is in his 19th year at Bountiful and 32nd in high school softball.
Bountiful begins the year ranked third in the state with a five-deep pitching rotation that also includes junior Ella Miller, junior Melissa Turpin and sophomore Claire Yates.
“Ella throws harder than Eva and has just gotten better and better,” Latey said, remembering his initial meeting with her as an 8-year-old for a lesson and then not seeing her again until the fall of her freshman year when she walked onto the field and “ran as fast as my varsity players and then hit one up on the building.”
Junior catcher Athena Tongaonevai, who was the team’s leading hitter last season as a Second Team All-State selection, is back “even stronger this year,” according to Latey. Her presence behind the plate along with Turpin and Yates anchoring the middle infield will be big for Bountiful as the season progresses.
Only 15 girls participated in tryouts this year so Latey will fill his varsity and junior varsity squads with the lowest number of players he’s ever had.
“We’ve just told the girls that everyone is playing and we’ll be playing as a team so we can field the two teams,” he said. “We don’t think it’ll take long to come together with these girls and they think they can go win it this year.”
Also on the BHS team this year are senior Ashlyn Watson; juniors Jaci Alvey, Mylie Burns, Frankie Galeana and Katelyn Rogers; sophomores Isabeau Hoff and Abby Orme; and
freshmen McKinley Duryea, Aimee Moore, Kamryn Rasmussen and Alivia Trump.
Latey is being assisted Ron Osborn, Kyli Evans and Katie Tanner on the coaching staff this season.
The season’s first two games against Syracuse were delayed because of snow-covered fields. The Redhawks are scheduled to now open the year against Grantsville March 14 as well as other non-region action against Cyprus, Corner Canyon, Layton, Davis, Alta, Uintah and Herriman. Bountiful will also compete in a St. George tournament March 16-18 and a Brighton tournament April 8 along with home-and-away contests with Region 5 opponents Viewmont, Bonneville, Northridge, Box Elder and Woods Cross.
First-Team All-State pitcher Molly Roberts along with fellow juniors Kennedy Embrey and Lily Hawker, who were Honorable Mention All-State players last season, return to lead a Viewmont team who welcome new coaches Bree Lopez and Kayla Lowry this season.
“The talent is so great on our team right now that I’m not even sure who my starting nine will be,” Lopez said. “I’m so impressed with their talent and effort. It’s gonna be a dogfight for everyone in the battle for playing time.”
Lopez and Lowry have been emphasizing author John Gordon’s perspective of “Positive Ways To Thrive During Change” as they try to build team chemistry among the Vikings program.
Viewmont’s March 8 game with Morgan was cancelled as spring sports struggle to start the season in winter conditions. The Vikings are scheduled to play Ridgeline March 17 and Green Canyon March 21. A special “Autism Game” will be held March 24 preceding Autism Awareness which is highlighted during the month of April, which is especially significant to Lopez whose 6-year-old son is high-functioning autistic. Other games this season will be against Bountiful (twice), Box Elder (twice), Northridge (twice), Bonneville (twice), Taylorsville, Woods Cross (twice) and Mountain Ridge.
Also on the VHS squad this season are seniors Amanda Barton, Sammie Bice, Jena Eggett and Sydni Steed; juniors Ella Naea, Haley Rodabough and Lily Wright; sophomores Karli Dickerson, Emi Jones and Kaitlin Riley; and freshmen Peyton Burningham, Kate Egnew, Marlee Moser and Ricky Smith.
Seniors Mel Zarate and Brighton Malmrose along with junior Natalie Wall return for an inexperienced Woods Cross team this season.
“We are very young this year so we will focus on getting better, playing together and developing fundamentals,” said head coach Casey Plowman. “We will also spend a lot of time on the mental side of the game this year.”
Plowman also noted the addition of senior Luisa Piutau along with freshmen Audrey Ayala and Aspen Lewis who stand out among the 11 freshmen joining the program.
“We have great leadership from our upperclassmen that I am really looking forward to seeing them shine and show what Woods Cross softball is all about,” Plowman said. “Also, seeing that we are getting bigger numbers from our underclassmen is very promising.”
Also on the WXHS team this year are seniors Kaii Crockett, Luisa Piutau, Olivia Wauneka and Zoe Williams; sophomore Audrey Strong; and freshmen Sydney Axenty, Audrey Ayala, Ili Crockett, Rylee Feller, Breck Harris, Savannah Juggert, Aspen Lewis, Kaylee Moen, Bella Mortensen, Ashlynn Nelson and Grace Thomas.
Woods Cross’ game with Skyview was cancelled to start the season due to weather. The Wildcats are scheduled to play Davis March 14 and then Olympus, Sky View, Skyline, Granger, Highland, Taylorsville and Mountain Ridge in non-region action along with home-and-away games against Bonneville, Northridge, Bountiful, Box Elder and Viewmont.
Plowman is being assisted on the coaching staff by Madi White and Katelyn Sadler with Cris Plowman and Jodilyn Wall helping with scorekeeping and stats.
“I’m really looking forward in developing the youth we have this year. We have a lot of coachable girls who want to get better and have gotten better in just a short amount of time,” Plowman said.