Power-hitting Miners ready
Scott Chester is hell-bent on making Park City High School softball an annually competitive program.
"My depth is really good," said the Miners’ head coach of his 2011 roster. "I’m super excited about the season; we could compete in region for sure. There’s no team that scares us.
"I feel like we can go up with anybody and, if we can play a good game, we can beat anybody."
This year’s Park City team, according to Chester, has the potential to be the best Miners team of the last decade. The team, one of the best hitting in Utah last year, returns all but one starter on varsity.
Laura Kubicki, Park City’s slugging starting shortstop, led the entire state last year in home runs with 10. She also had 11 doubles and five triples on her 2010 resume. Kubicki, who will hit third, will follow sophomore leadoff hitter and speedster Morgan Cormier, who hit over .400 last season as a freshman, and most likely senior Katie Selby in the second spot. Behind Kubicki in the cleanup role will be first baseman Samantha Aragon, who smashed 11 doubles a season ago.
"They’re all back," Chester said. "It’s exciting."
He added that he knows his team can swing the bat with the best, but pitching has taken more time to develop.
This year could be a different story as the Miners have two young starting pitchers in sophomore Cassidy Chester and freshman Casey Picillo.
"We’re going to be in more games, in tighter games," he said. "We’re going to have to work ourselves to one run."
The Miners’ preseason schedule features a flurry of 5A and 4A teams to prepare them for Region 10 play which starts on April 5.
Chester said finally having a team full of experienced and talented players has him more excited than ever; he sees the potential and knows the hard part is translating that onto the dirt.
"When I first got here, I didn’t have a girl who played 100 games in her life," he said. "(Now) it shows in practice, in shows in drills, it shows in their leadership on the field. They understand what it takes to win and work and how it pays off."
While Park City has two fewer players than it did a year ago 18 varsity girls Chester said every member of the team will be able to step in and contribute in any way if asked.
"We’re so much more experienced coming into a season than ever before," he said.
Chester singled out leadership as part of the growth process, saying he must rely on his seniors to help keep the team in games and focused on a game-to-game basis.
Along with Kubicki and Aragon, Ciera Figge, Katie Selby and Alyssa Marsh will be among the seniors Chester’s excited to see play and lead.
"Now it matters," he said. "They get it."
Chester’s goal this season is to make it to the second day of the 3A state playoffs, saying that a region title or bust is a goal he does not wish to push on his team.
"I don’t want to set a bar so high that we get a defeatist attitude early on in the year," he said.
As the Miners start their season Saturday at 5A Cottonwood, Chester’s main worry isn’t losing games as much as keeping his small yet talented roster at full strength.
"What I’m worried about is staying healthy," he said. "Now I know we can compete and win. I want to see how good this team can be, and we have to be healthy in order to do that."
“Even the dogs were celebrating the reemergence of the sun.”