Softball teams ending season
play, readying for playoffs
By James Tilson
Apr. 26, 2018
MANTI—Area softball teams are wrapping up their regular season and ramping up preparations for the playoffs next week. All three Sanpete County teams are on track to get into the playoffs, with North Sanpete and Gunnison both holding down first place in their respective regions, while Manti is staging a late season push to catch up.
A successful road trip to Moab, winning two games in a double-header against Grand County, has pushed the Lady Templars into third place in Region 15 at 6-4. With a game against second place South Sevier and two against San Juan left in the regular season, Manti has an opportunity to improve its seeding in the upcoming playoffs.
Manti Coach Susan Hatch points to the team’s improved focus in making a difference recently. “The team is trying to focus on staying consistent offensively, and making each at bat count. We are seeing less strike outs each game.”
Without the overwhelming offense possessed by North Sanpete and Gunnison, Manti must rely on defense and pitching. “Our defense has been strong, and our pitching has improved,” she said.
The Lady Hawks only had one game last week, but they pummeled Emery 15-2. North Sanpete has dominating offensively all year, and Coach Landon Bailey credits his talented hitters for that. “We have some very talented girls who work very hard, and it is really showing. We focus on swinging at good pitches and trying to hit the ball up the middle. I knew we would have a tough hitting team coming into the year, but our entire lineup, top to bottom, has done really well and it makes up a tough team to pitch to.”
With two region games left (at time of press) left in the regular season, the Lady Hawks almost have the regular season title wrapped up. “If we are able to win region, we would get to host the first round of the playoff. That would be a big deal for us, and we really hope we can do that, but we still have some work to do.”
Last week, the Lady Bulldogs went 2-0 to maintain their perfect region season, with big wins over Parowan, 17-0, and Rockwell, 18-0. Sitting at 6-0 in Region 2A Central, and with only two games left, Gunnison is looking ahead to the playoffs and another run at the state title.
Coach Tyson Brackett credits the all-around good effort of his team for its success. “Our defense and pitching have been solid the last few weeks,” he said. “Our hitting has come around, and we are seeing the ball better and hitting more line-drives. I told my team a few weeks ago if they can put runs on the board every inning, it will put more pressure on the other team and they have done just that.”
Looking ahead, Coach Brackett sees some good teams ahead of the Lady Bulldogs in the playoffs. “I feel good about the playoffs,” he said. “We should be able to host our first round game at home. Millard has a pretty solid team, along with Enterprise and Beaver. You never want to overlook any team. Our team is only focused about the next game. I don’t hear them talking about other teams, just the teams we are facing next.”