Wildcats prep for 2A state softball tourney
May 5, 2015
After a somewhat slow start to the season offensively, the South Summit High School softball team has been firing on all cylinders lately.
While amassing a perfect 13-0 record against other 2A teams, the Wildcats scored 10 or more runs in 10 of 13 games. South Summit cruised to a Region 16 title, earning the No. 1 seed in the 2A state tournament, which begins Thursday in Spanish Fork.
South Summit Coach Cody Bowen was happy to see the Wildcats take care of business and lock down the top spot in Region 16.
"It’s nice to get the No. 1 seed," he said. "It’s a lot more favorable to be the No. 1 than the No. 2. We’re happy to be there, but there will still be some tough teams to play."
The Wildcats’ biggest recent victory was a 14-9 decision on April 28 at Manti. Bowen said the South Summit offense carried the load that day.
"We just hit," he said. "We scored two or more runs in six of the seven innings. [Manti] made a little rally in the middle innings, but we kept hitting and scoring."
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Heading into the playoffs, Bowen said the Wildcat bats are hot, a trend the team will need to continue through the weekend.
"We’re hitting a lot better 1-9 and we’re feeling confident," he said. "We just want to constantly put the ball in play. We’re such a quick team and have a lot of team speed. The key for us is to constantly put defenses on edge and under pressure to keep us off the bases. It’s just a matter of not striking out — if we can bunt well, we’re so quick that, sooner or later, somebody makes an error."
The Wildcats will take on Beaver in the first round of the playoffs. Bowen said he doesn’t know much about Beaver, but added that if the Wildcats play the way they’re capable of playing, they should advance to the next round.
"We haven’t seen them at all this year," he said. "They’re a young team, but they’re a competitive team. I’m sure they’ll put up a good fight and we’ll have to play well to move forward.
"I think our pitching will be there, though. Our defense has been good all year and our hitting has been coming along. If we can score like we have been lately, we should do pretty well."
With a pitching staff led by Natalie Nichols, Hannah Peterson and Taylor Reidhead, Bowen hopes to avoid dropping into the one-loss bracket. He said the road to the title is much easier the longer a team avoids losing its first game.
"We’ve always had to do it through the losers’ side," he said. "We’ve never been able to just sit there on Saturday and wait for another team to come through the losers’ side."
Though South Summit has some lofty expectations for this year’s senior-laden team, Bowen said the Wildcats won’t get ahead of themselves.
"You’ve got to take each game individually and play well," he said. "Anything can happen in this tournament."
South Summit finished the regular season 21-5 overall. The Wildcats’ first-round playoff game against Beaver is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Spanish Fork Complex.
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