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Softball team looks to regular season

by Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

It’s been a preseason of wins and losses, big steps forward and lessons learned for the Park City High School girls softball. As the girls approach the regular season, head coach Scott Chester only hopes the lessons continue.

"I’m glad we are where we’re at, at the start of the season," Chester said.

Perhaps the highlight of the preseason was the Miner’s two wins at the St. George Tournament last weekend. On the first day, the team easily swept by Millard, 8-2, with a balanced attack. The next two games on Saturday morning were losses, but the second, against Lincoln County Nevada, ended in a close 6-5 finish.

"Park City is not usually in 6-5 games, but you have to learn to lose before you learn to win," Chester said.

The team ended on a high note, beating Region 10 rival Morgan 6-3. Park City’s top six batters also hit over .400 collectively at the tournament.

"All-in-all, it was a super successful trip," Chester said.

The Miners’ experience at the Carbon tournament this weekend, will be filed under the "lessons learned category," with rainy games and a starting lineup mired by a flu bug, but perhaps the biggest blow, was the loss of starting varsity pitcher Ivy Jorquira for the season due to personal reasons just before the leaving for Carbon.

Still, Chester says that the girls are doing a good job of not playing according to the decficit on the scoreboard, and will put together strong innings even when they are losing, and they are learning how to launch comebacks.

"Just to be in games and knowing they have a chance is great," Chester said.

With the loss of Jorquira, Chester has moved juniors Megan Colligan and Liz Weeks into the starting rotation on the mound. He says the Miners lose a bit of speed without their star pitcher, but he is encouraged by how well both girls have assumed their new responsibilities.

"Having those two girls pitching will be good this year," Chester said. "Really what they need is to play."

He says that keeping the girls spirits up while the team readjusts the pitching staff is difficult. Chester hopes that the challenge of improving their defense and offense will help to keep their minds off of the situation.

The girls will challenge their ever-advancing skills at the start of the Region 10 schedule with a game at Wasatch on Friday. The region is stacked with talent at the top from Wasatch, Union and Uintah, but Chester thinks that Park City has a chance against Morgan and Judge.

A handful of road games to start off the action won’t help, but Chester is optimistic that it will help build determination and character before returning to the comfort of their home field. They have also had the rare luxury of practicing on their home field with the warm weather of the last few weeks. Getting out of the gym also allows the outfielders to see real fly balls and helps the girls get the feel for real game situations.

"It gives me more ways to work the girls," Chester said.

He also said that the snow this year has affected teams both out and in the Salt Lake Valley, so for once, the Park City contingent isn’t working at an automatic disadvantage.

Chester projects that realistically, the Miners could grab at least four wins in Region to win a playoff berth or at least three and still have a chance.

"A few wins is a huge improvement," Chester said. "I’m trying to keep goals realistic."

The Miners will travel to face Wasatch this Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Heber.


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