HEBER CITY — Last season, the girls softball team from Wasatch High School was loaded with senior talent. It was an experienced group that had been playing together over three school years, including some players that stayed together and played on summer teams between prep seasons.
That is why the Wasatch Wasps went 16-6 in the regular season last year and won four games in the 3A tournament before being eliminated by state runner-up Spanish Fork.
This year will be different. Eight players from last year’s team have graduated, leaving the Wasps with only three seniors this year. Head coach Gary Roberts will rely on those three for some leadership and experience, but he will be looking toward the future by fielding a lineup of mostly juniors. He will even be putting a few sophomores in key positions.
“We’re not mailing it in,” said Roberts, “but we’re also being realistic. I can see us having a season like (Wasatch's state championship-winning boys basketball team) — having a tough preseason, but getting it figured out and putting together a run in region.
"I don’t know if we can win state, but we’d like to put ourselves in position to be competitive. We’ve got a lot of work to do with this group, but it is going to be fun."
Senior catcher Renee Fagg, coming off a stellar campaign in 2012 and having already committed to play softball at Snow College, will be relied on by Roberts and assistant coach Clint Kelson to lead the younger group. Ashlynn Davis and Katelyn Baird are the other two seniors who will start a lot of games for the lady Wasps.
Juniors Hailey Hardman, in her first year at Wasatch, and Tristin Bills are coming off nice basketball seasons for the Wasps and will help shore up a lineup that hopes to gain some cohesiveness defensively. Six other juniors, led by Tianna Christensen, Breanna Meyer, Keasha Thompson and Shayla Weyerman will step up to fill holes left vacant by last year’s graduating class.
Sophomores Jensen Baker and Marissa Childs are a couple of the underclassmen who will see a lot of time on the diamond.
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“I actually like our potential. I like our infield,” Kelson said. “If we can take it one out at a time, we’ll be fine. Where we may lack some on defense this year, we can make up on offense. We’ve got some girls who can swing it. Hopefully that will keep us in some games.”
The young Wasps begin their season Wednesday at Stansbury, and pick it up next week with back-to-back games — Tuesday at Juab and Wednesday in their home opener against Provo.
Kenny Bristow is the staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and a contributor to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org