Park City Miners softball beats Provo 23-22
The Park City Miners softball team led Provo High School 23-14 going into the top of the seventh inning. The gap seemed insurmountable, but the Miners’ pitching started to falter, and errors and balls turned to a string of runs. Eventually, the Provo Bulldogs trailed by a single run, but just as it seemed the Miners would lose their lead, a Bulldog batter struck an infield hit toward third, where Salina Ochoa ran, glove outstretched, and caught it in stride. The Miners celebrated their third win of the season.
Junior catcher Vanessa Heredia said the tense matchup was a welcome change of pace from other, more lopsided affairs.
“It honestly feels pretty good, because usually it’s either we get run-ruled or we run-rule them,” said Heredia. “I feel like having that close call is really nice.”
It was especially nice because the Miners lost to Provo – a Class 5A team – by the mercy rule in their second game of the season, 15-0.
“Not taking anything away from Provo – they’re a fun team and they have some talent, but we beat ourselves,” said Shannon Gebbia, the Miners’ head coach. “We had nine errors in that game and we didn’t hit a ball out of the infield. It was a struggle.”
Since then the team has been working hard, especially recently. Gebbia said the team has been focusing on fundamentals, diving into the nitty-gritty that usually gets addressed at a lower level. But since some players on the team don’t have experience outside of high school, it was necessary.
“We went all the way down to changing grips on some of the batters,” Gebbia said. “We went through drill after drill you do when you’re younger.”
The team has also been adding extra batting practices, just to get into the swing of things and to build confidence. For a while, the team was coming to an extra half-hour practice before school days.
“We have gotten away from that because we’ve had four games a week,” Gebbia said. “But we actually had practice on Sunday, their only day off, and we hit for about two hours. The girls are getting there and it’s showing.”
That practice started to pay off last Friday, when the team beat Ben Lomond 20-8 by mercy rule in the fifth inning.
“That was our first region win for years — for at least four or five years,” said junior Amanda Riely, the team’s shortstop and utility player. “That was a really good moment, and hopefully we can get another region win.”
The team is now 3-8 overall, and Gebbia said the victories are a sign that the team is slowly turning around.
She said the team had talked before Monday’s game against Provo about showing what the team could really do.
The teams were nearly equal during the first two innings, but the Miners pulled away in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs, then three more in the fifth and sixth.
Riely said it was nerve-wracking to see Provo catch up in the last inning – “That was a great feeling to see Salina catch it at the end,” she said.
But it was still a win, something Gebbia said is getting slightly more likely every year.
“We’re getting there,” she said.
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