Only one thing is certain as this weekend’s 3A softball playoffs begin — there is no favorite.
The classification has had nine different teams in the No. 1 spot this season, which has turned out to be one of the most unpredictable and competitive in recent memory.
The top-ranked team is Uintah, and the Utes are the only squad that’s managed to navigate the region season without a loss.
Uintah is led by pitcher Summer Stensgard, who has a 9-0 record, pitcher Natasha Barker, who has a 4-2 record and 19 extra base hits, and Kylie Smuin, who has 15 extra base hits this season.
The Utes (16-4) will open against Bear River (14-7), which is a tough draw after an undefeated region season, but at least Uintah gets to host this weekend’s first-round games. The Bears are talented but young, with pitchers McKenzie Summers and Bailee Trapp sharing time in the circle.
Also playing at Uintah High is North Sanpete (9-9) and second-ranked Canyon View (16-5). The Falcons are led by all-state pitcher Josie Platt, who owns a 14-4 record this season. Kenzie Sawyer leads the team in home runs with nine, while Kaitlyn DeLange, Brielle Nicholes and Cheyanne Anderson give the team a lot of consistency offensively.
Third-ranked Tooele (16-7) will host Morgan (8-13), as well as Snow Canyon (13-6) and Juab (13-7). The Buffalo are led by pitcher Lauren Frailey, as well as Whitnie Touhuni, Sierrah Anderson and Alyssa Arslanian. The Warriors are led by pitcher Heather Prestwich, who owns a 9-2 record, while the Wasps are led by pitcher McCall Sperry, Dakota Gee and Rylee Bryan.
Stansbury relies on pitcher Kimbri Herring, who owns a 10-6 record, as well as center fielder and last year’s MVP Janessa Bassett and Anjalee Batchelor, Beth Chipman and Jade Callister.
Fourth-ranked Cedar (13-9) will host Carbon (8-12), as well as defending 3A state champion Stansbury (14-6) and Juan Diego (17-6). Both the Stallions and the Soaring Eagle have been ranked No. 1 at times this season. Juan Diego is led by pitcher Claire Haddick, who owns a 10-3 record, as well as Jaici Bishop, who has 25 extra base hits this season.6 comments on this story
Payson High will host fifth-ranked Grantsville (14-10) vs. Union (10-12), as well as Dixie (9-12) and Payson (17-6). The Lions won the Region 12 title with just two losses — one to Juab and one to North Sanpete.
The Lions will rely on two pitchers — Shaylee Larsen and McKenzie Simons, both of whom are keys to the team’s offensive success as well. The Cowboys are led by pitchers Whitney Fields, Sydney Barney and Bailey Critchlow, as well as Autumn Dzierzon and Sarah Sandberg.
At all sites, the losers play a second game at 2 p.m. in the double elimination tournament that will continue next Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex.