You go, girls!
Following the classic logic, "If you build it, they will come," Park City head coach Scot Chester set out two years to rebuild the school’s struggling softball program.
Earlier this week, his dream started to become a reality as the team recorded back-to-back region wins against Judge, both with a final score of 3-1. The victories marked milestones all around as the team had not won a game yet in Region 10 play, had not won two games in succession in region play in five years and had not beaten Judge in four.
Chester is building the team much like former Park City baseball coach Buster Schwab did a few years ago with developmental programs and solid instruction in the sport. First, he started teaching the girls the fundamentals and slowly but surely incorporated strategies and plays and is still showing them how to win.
Sure, it’s only two wins, but the Miners’ performance in one of the state’s toughest regions is a sign of not only how far the team has come, but how far they can go.
"It’s a great accomplishment for this team," said second baseman Kalee Chester. "This is the best team by far I’ve seen."
care of the Judge on the road on Monday, the Miners brought the Bulldogs to their house on Tuesday for their first game on the high school field.
Aundrea Hargroder pitched a complete game, allowing only six hits and three strikeouts. She was backed by a solid defense that kept Judge silent through four innings and only allowed one run in the entire game.
The Miners, who have had problems with their hitting this year, thanks in part to bad weather and indoor practices, came alive in the fourth inning. Kelly MacClelland started the scoring, but it was Kalee that brought it, or them, as the case may be, all home. With a runner already on base, Kalee hit a triple on two outs that brought in two more runs.
"It was the biggest hit of her life," Chester said.
"I’m usually not a triple hitter," chimed in Kalee. "Its great win and such a great feeling."
Kalee said that she had something to prove after missing last week’s game because of a funeral. With some depth at her second-base position, she said the pressure was on her to perform and reestablish herself in this game.
"I felt like I had to prove myself today," Kalee said.
Although Chester said that the girls still have a ways to go in their hitting, he was very excited about their ability to get timely hits and manufacture runs.
"Bunts, stealing bases they are learning how to play," Chester said. "It’s so exciting."
The best part, though, may be the other team’s reaction every time Park City gets a win. Chester said that as he walked by the Judge dugout, he could hear whispers of, "but this is Park City," accompanied by facial expressions of disbelief.
Now back on their home field with a few days to practice, Chester hopes to help the team hone their skills even more. With the ability to hit and field and in daylight rather than the confines of the school or the Basin Recreation Field House, he thinks the team can make even more strides before facing their first playoff opponent. The team will host one more non-region game before the postseason, 4A Mountain Crest at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3 at the high school field.
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Park City on Tuesday hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs, but the event took on greater meaning with the gathering becoming among the largest City Hall-organized events held in person in the more than a year.