Spanish Fork should once again run away with the Region 4 title with no questions asked. It has been the team to beat for years and will continue to be so until someone actually does.
That being said, the rest of the region consists of some solid if not spectacular teams that could knock each other around during the region season with the teams suffering the fewest bumps and bruises coming out of the fracas and into the playoffs. The five teams beneath the Dons are so closely matched that each and every game could be a surprise to someone.
With the infusion of Lehi into the league field, the quality of play notched up and will be more entertaining than ever.
Some teams have been putting up better records than others during preseason action, but once Region 4 starts, watch out, the bats will come out swinging.
But, of course, the bats that will be connecting the most will be those of the Dons, who will once again fight with great talent and intensity for an undefeated region mark and some momentum heading into the playoffs.
"What makes a team good is when you can have different heroes in every game," said Spanish Fork coach Don Andrews about his team. And the Dons are packed with heroes from the pitching staff, which consists of Cami Robinson, Deven Baum and Whitney Holm, to the tough-as-nails defense, to the blazing offense.
The Dons will once again throw a powerful lineup at people led off by Tina Ferguson. Then opposing pitchers will have to pick their poison as they face Ashley Chappel, Katelyn Elliott, Holm, Lea Adamson and surprising Aly Tingey, among others.
The T-Wolves have been ripping up the preseason with improved batting, and now they have their No. 1 pitcher back in Shiri Stevens. They'll be tough competition for the rest of the league, but they won't be alone.
American Fork is coming in with a solid lineup as Sandra Nessler and Shelbi Peterson lead a group of athletic stars, including some Caveman basketball players that are transferring over well to the diamond.
The Pioneers will be fielding youth, but always talented youth in Lehi as versatile Marci Gray and top pitcher and hitter Ariel Zimmerman lead the way.
Yet another powerful lineup propels the Vikings as they hope to contend for the playoffs yet again behind the bats of Whitney Giles, Camille Lines, Haley Engemann and others who step into the batters' box.Lone Peak will be counting on the pitching and hitting of Raven King and some powerful hitting by Jeni Keller to make a playoff run.
Region 4 softball
SPANISH FORK DONS
COACH: Don Andrews, 11th year
LAST YEAR: 25-4, first in Region 4, lost in state championship game
OUTLOOK: "We're a good hitting team, and it's gonna be hard to keep our bats silent, but we're a good defensive team, too. Realistically, if we play up to our ability we should do OK," said Andrews. From top to bottom the Dons can hit, field and pitch. They'll be tough for anyone in Region 4 to come close to stopping.
TOP HITTERS: Whitney Holm, Sr.; Tina Ferguson, Jr.; Katelyn Elliott, Jr.; Ashley Chappel, Sr.; Lea Adamson, Jr.; Aly Tingey, Sr.
TOP DEFENDERS: Holm, Sr., P/INF; Ferguson, Jr., INF/OF; Elliott, Jr., SS; Chappel, Sr., INF; Lindsee Thurgood, Sr., INF/OF; Kaylee Brinkerhoff, Jr., OF.
TOP PITCHERS: Holm, Sr., RH; Cami Robinson, Jr., RH; Deven Baum, Sr., RH.; Dezlee Roberts, So., RH.PREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: First
COACH: Niki Andersen, first year
LAST YEAR: 11-12, third in Region 4
OUTLOOK: So far this season the T-Wolves have been proving themselves capable of putting up big numbers and holding down the opponents. Andersen is hoping that will not only continue through Region 4 competition but will even improve from that. "It just takes us a while to get into the game, but the girls have motivation," Andersen noted.
TOP HITTERS: Megan Bishop, Sr.; Chelsea Laird, Sr.; Kalee Gonzalez, Sr.; Ashli Duke, Sr.; Kelsey Belliston, Sr.; Jessica Hoer, Jr.
TOP DEFENDERS: Angela Larsen, Sr. INF; Belliston, Sr., INF; Bishop, Sr., OF; Laird, Sr., INF; Ally Butler, Jr., UT; Kendra Martin, So., INF; Kayla Atkin, Fr., UT.
TOP PITCHERS: Shiri Stevens, Sr., RH, Kristen Bramall, So., RH; Kristen Coker, So., RH.PREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: Second
COACH: Leslee Warr, second year
LAST YEAR: 20-6, second in Region 7
OUTLOOK: This team still has the Lehi talent and mentality, but after graduating seven solid players from last year's lineup, they will come in young but with some experience. "I see us competing. I think we have the talent if we can just get clicking. We're going to rely heavily on defense this year," said Warr.
TOP HITTERS: Marci Gray, Sr.; Shelby Lund, Jr.; Ally White, So.; Brianne McBride, So.; Ariel Zimmerman, So.; Ashley Zimmerman, Jr.
TOP DEFENDERS: Gray, Sr., INF/OF; Lund, So., INF; White, So., INF/OF; Morgan Peck, Sr., OF; Annie Nielsen, So., OF; Mardi Massa, Sr., C
TOP PITCHERS: Ariel Zimmerman, So., RH; Ashley Zimmerman, Jr., RH; White, So., RH; Peck, Sr., RH.PREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: Third
AMERICAN FORK CAVEMEN
COACH: Duke Sorenson, first year
LAST YEAR: 10-12, tied for fourth in Region 4
OUTLOOK: "Hitting is definitely a big strength, and we have a good shot to make the playoffs," said Sorenson, whose team has pulled things together really well in the last two years after suffering a long rebuilding era. This team is definitely in the mix in a tightly contested region.
TOP HITTERS: Amy Krommenhoek, So.; Shelbi Peterson, Jr.; Haley Holmstead, Jr.; Sandra Nessler, Sr.; Cydne Mason, Jr.; Shelby Swapp, Sr.; Mallory Davis, Sr.
TOP DEFENDERS: Kayla Sorenson, Jr., INF; Davis, Sr., INF; Nessler, Sr., C; Swapp, Sr., INF
TOP PITCHERS: RH; Sorenson, So., RH; .Annie Christensen, Jr., RH.PREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: Fourth
PLEASANT GROVE VIKINGS
COACH: Kale Gillman, second year
LAST YEAR: 7-14, second in Region 4
OUTLOOK: This team is young but has enough experience and talent to make some noise in Region 7. The hitting so far this preseason has been solid and packed with plenty of power. If the team can hold down their opponents' scoring, the Vikings could go far.
TOP HITTERS: Whitney Giles, Sr.; Haley Engemann, Sr.; Camille Lines, So.; Sammi Dodson, So.; Mackenzie Larson, So.
TOP DEFENDERS: Mekell Miles, Sr., INF; Larson, So., INF; Giles, Sr., INF;
TOP PITCHERS: Kaylonni Mikalauski, Jr., RH; Torrey Best, Jr., RH; Angela Mikalauski, Fr., RHPREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: Fifth
LONE PEAK KNIGHTS
COACH: Janae Forsey, third year
LAST YEAR: 8-17, tied for fourth in Region 4
OUTLOOK: "They're developing well, and even though they're an older team, they haven't played that much together. We did gain a lot of hitting power in the off season," said Forsey, who is also pleased with her top pitcher, Raven King.
TOP HITTERS: Bailie Hicken, Sr.; Katie Schoepf, Sr.; Rebecca Vincent, Sr.; Raven King, So..; Jeni Keller, Jr.
TOP DEFENDERS: Vincent, Sr. OF/INF; Cami Trinnaman, Sr., INF; Keller, Jr., INF/OF; Schoepf, Sr., INF; King, So., P/INF.
TOP PITCHERS: King, So., RH; Whitney Stevens, So., RH; Nicole Bean, Sr., RH.PREDICTED 2008 REGION 4 FINISH: Sixth