Softball team shows skills in St. George
With nearly one-third of his team made up of newcomers, Park City head softball coach Gerry McMillan wasn’t looking to win the championship trophy at this past weekend’s St. George 3A Softball Tournament.
He wasn’t even that focused on winning.
He just wanted to see his team play.
With a constant stream of snow showers in both Summit and Salt Lake county, only one of the Miners’ five scheduled early-season games had been played before they went on their road trip down south. The trip, which is usually a blend of team bonding and heated competition, became more concentrated on just seeing how the girls performed on the field.
"I was very pleased," McMillan said. "I have more to work with than I thought."
This year’s Miners squad is a blend of older, more experienced players, and a crop of underclassman that came out of the local recreational program. The weekend, which included two games on Friday and two on Saturday, allowed McMillan and his coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate where their athletes would be best suited on the field, as well as seeing who had the best game knowledge and intensity.
Although the girls lost all four games and cancelled another one against Rowland Hall due to weather, McMillan said things couldn’t have been better.
"We ask them to play to win, not play to not lose," said McMillan, who was encouraged by the team’s effort.
Against some of the best teams in 3A, McMillan felt that the Miners held their own and showed their dedication to playing to their potential. He was especially happy with the challenge they gave Region 10 rival Morgan before losing late Friday night.
"They’re up against the best, and that’s what it is all about," McMillan said.
He said he was also pleased to see the team learn to work together. Many of the older players adopted the younger players to help them get their skills up to the prep level, and the rookies repaid them with loud support on the field.
"To me, that was the best part of the whole thing," McMillan said. "It’s the best thing I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching."
With the team members and their roles and assignments more defined, the Miners will try once again to play another preseason game at Ogden High School next Friday, March 24, although McMillan fears that snow may keep his team from playing.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.