High school softball: Parity promises to make 5A playoffs exciting
No undefeated teams.
Seven different teams that were ranked No. 1 at one point this spring.
No clear favorite.
This year’s 5A state softball tournament is loaded with talent and uncertainty.
The Layton Lancers are the top-ranked team heading into the postseason after battling through a region that saw three other schools ranked in that top spot.
The Lancers lost in the first round of region play to Fremont and Syracuse, but the only game they lost in the last month was to 4A powerhouse Box Elder.
Layton opens the tournament by hosting Lone Peak. The Lancers are led by pitcher Mikelle Smedley, who has a solid defense behind her. Alanna Anderson, Cassidy Anderson, Raeana Gall and Kimberly Taylor make the Lancers one of the top offensive squads as well.
Second-ranked Lehi finished in a three-way tie for the Region 4 title, but a coin toss relegated the Pioneers to the third seed.
“We ended up tying for first, so it was a bummer to have gotten the third seed,” said Lehi coach Whitney Thomas.
Thomas said the team is excited to be playing in the tournament, but disappointed that Region 4 will square off against Region 1. She hopes that having played in Region 4 will be an advantage to the Pioneers.
“We know we can compete because we’ve already played some of the best teams in the state,” she said. “I feel our region will represent well.”
Being a third seed means traveling to Plain City to take on third-ranked Fremont. The Silver Wolves are led by pitcher Peyton Garner and Kristina George. Fremont boasts one of the most prolific lineups with Shaylee Pierce, Ryley Ball, Kelsee Bushell and McKenzie Cottle.
Riverton earned a piece of that Region 4 championship and won the coin toss, so the Silverwolves will host Syracuse in the tournament’s first day. Riverton is led by pitcher Cheyanne Dahl, as well as Ashlynn Smith, Sarah Linford and Katelyn Douglas.
The third team in that tie was fourth-ranked Herriman, and the Mustangs will host Viewmont in the opening round. Herriman is led by pitcher Riley Cox and pitcher Bryce Taylor, as well as solid hitters Hayley Childs and Ashlyn Visser. The Vikings have a lot of firepower as well with Eliza Thornley, Caitlyn Larsen, Riley Tyteca and Collette West.
Bingham rounds out the top-five teams. The Miners are led by pitcher Taylor Clemens and a solid group of hitters, including Torre Glasker, Emily Lewis and Chelsea Latu. Bingham will host Granger in the first round.
Defending 5A state champion Copper Hills finished second in the Region 3 race, while Taylorsville won the Region 2 title. Both could contend for the state’s top honor.
The Warriors will host West Jordan, while Copper Hills will host West.
5A SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
West vs. Copper Hills
Syracuse vs. Riverton
Lone Peak vs. Layton
Alta vs. Hunter
Lehi vs. Fremont
West Jordan vs. Taylorsville
Granger vs. Bingham
Viewmont Vs. Herriman
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