2A softball: Playoffs feature four unbeaten region champions
2A softball brackets
American Leadership vs. Grand, noon
Duchesne vs. Enterprise, 2 p.m.
Parowan vs. S. Summit, noon
Richfield vs. Gunnison, 2 p.m.
Beaver vs. Summit, noon
N. Summit vs. Manti, 2 p.m.
N. Sevier vs. San Juan, noon
Altamont vs. Millard, 2 p.m.
*Both winners and losers play a second game on Thursday afternoon. Losers play at 4 p.m., while winners play at 6 p.m. All games will be played at the Spanish Fork Complex.
All four-region champions in 2A softball managed to earn their league titles without a single loss.
What that says about the classification and the upcoming 2A state tournament depends on who you ask.
Some coaches believe it means there are four clear frontrunners, while others suggest it means this year’s tournament will be a battle from the opening rounds Thursday at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex.
“I think it will be one of those four teams there at the end,” said Enterprise head coach Duane Wallin of the four region champs. “We’ve taken third the last two years, so I’m hoping we can get over the hump and get to the final game.”
South Summit head coach Cody Bowen believes it just indicates how talented 2A softball teams are this season.
“It’s going to be a tough tournament,” Bowen said. “No matter where you go, no matter which bracket, you’re going to find someone who is really good.” While there are undefeated region champs, he said, there are also some very tough second- and third-place teams entering the tournament with nothing to lose and a lot to prove.
“We’re hoping to get some good breaks and hopefully things will fall our way this year,” Bowen said.
Defending champion Manti is the No. 1 ranked team and has owned that spot most of the year as they returned many of last year’s talented team. San Juan, last season’s second-place team, is ranked second and has held that spot all season, while the 2012 third-place finisher, Enterprise, is ranked third. Region 14 champion, South Summit, also managed to stay unbeaten, and is ranked fourth.
Pitchers Kali Thompson and Elizabeth Palmer lead top-ranked Manti. They also have talented hitters led by Palmer, Takisha McFarlane and Mikaela Cox. The Templars open the tournament with North Summit. The top two teams share the bottom bracket and if they win, they will meet in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.
San Juan opens the tournament with North Sevier. The Broncos boast one of the state’s best pitchers in Tatianna Su’e Su’e, who owns a 14-2 record. Jessica Swenson also pitches and has a 4-0 record. Su’e Su’e and Justin Hutchins lead the offense with 12 home runs for the pitcher and 11 home runs for Hutchins.
Enterprise opens with Duchesne in the first round Thursday.
The Wolves are led by junior pitcher Dakota Robinson, who owns a 13-3 record this season. She’s also one of the team’s top hitters with six doubles and two home runs, while Jaycee Reber owns a 3-1 record pitching and has two home runs, two triples and two doubles. Kaylee Christensen and Taylor Phelps have also led the team to the success this season. Wallin said his players are very motivated to make it to the final game on Saturday. He credits success in Enterprise’s feeder programs for raising the bar for the players.
“There is a high expectation of winning and playing well,” he said.
Sophomore pitcher Natalie Nichols, who owns a 15-1 record, leads South Summit. She’s also batting better than .600 as the team’s lead off hitter. The team also gets tough pitching from Taylor Reidhead, who is 5-0 inside the circle, while Kaylie Atkinson, Jamie McNeil and Abigail Peterson lead the way with extra base hits.
The Wildcats have a tough first-round game against Parowan.
Fifth-ranked Millard will take on Altamont, which is actually a 1A school competing against much bigger programs with a lot of success.
The other first-round games — Grand vs. American Leadership, Gunnison vs. Richfield, and Summit vs. Beaver — should also be competitive contests.
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