Miners mercy-ruled vs. Wasatch
April 3, 2009
It’s important to keep remembering that the Park City High School softball team is building.
After a loss like the 15-0 one to Wasatch Thursday that was called after the third inning due to the mercy rule, it is the vision of the future that keeps the tears away and keeps the team going out and playing hard game after game.
After an encouraging season last year, the Miners found themselves back to square one this year after losing a number of players to graduation and losing their top two pitchers at the beginning of the season for undisclosed reasons.
"Losing two top starting pitchers, that crippled us," Park City head coach Scott Chester said. Against Wasatch, the Miners started freshman Erica Atter, but replaced her midway through the second inning with sophomore Ciera Figge. Figge was able to throw some nice balls, but troubles with the Miners’ defense mixed with a fair number of walks, eventually led to the mercy rule call.
"We’ve got to learn how to play in tough games," Chester said. "In every game we need to play defense like we’re 0-0."
Chester said that he has found himself using a number of underclassman and sometimes even first-year players in the starting varsity line-up.
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But that is not as bad as it sounds.
Since a youth development program was established, there has been noticeable difference in quantity and quality. This year 14 freshmen made the team and Chester said that in a few years, their talent should take the Miners to the top of the region. Also, the new countywide Silver Strikers club softball program, which taps into the talents in Coalville and Kamas as well, has sparked a lot of interest from girls in Park City.
"I’m getting girls who have been playing for a few years," said Chester.
Assistant coach Alissa Smith said that she went through a similar building process when she was playing for Park City High School, but believes that the Miners will rise again soon.
"It’s hard; that’s what I did," she said. "But we have young talent and girls that want to grow up and play this sport."
The Miners’ troubles are not helped by the fact that they are playing in one of the toughest regions in 3A, with uber-competitive programs like Uintah, Union and Wasatch that will not only battle it out in the regular season, but likely far into the playoffs. Weather has also been a factor. Besides cancelled games, the Miners have had nine games, yet have only been able to practice outside on grass once thus far.
One bright spot is that the Miners have a .375 batting average and are currently the third highest scoring team in 3A, and hope to add a few more wins to earn a playoff spot later in the season