Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Salem Hills' Abbie Tuttle is congratulated after hitting a home run in the fifth inning in the 4A softball championship game against Box Elder High at the Valley Regional Softball Complex in Taylorsville on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Salem Hills and Box Elder are among the teams fighting for this year's 4A crown.

A coach never wants her team to lose.

But in the case of the third-ranked Box Elder softball team, a few losses presented the Bees with opportunities to fix flaws they might not have otherwise acknowledged.

“I’m not excited that we lost,” said Bees coach Mandy Hodgson. “But I’m excited that we’ve had the opportunity to fix some things before it’s too late.”

Hodgson said 4A is deeper and tougher than ever this season. One thing that hasn’t changed is that any school that succeeds needs to have strong pitching.

“I feel like we’ve got great pitching in 4A,” Hodgson said. “I think pitching will be a big deal.”

Luckily, Box Elder has a couple of good pitchers. Abigayle Martin and McKell Marble give the Bees depth defensively, while Sadie Blackner, Molly Horne and Kelsey Rodriguez headline a potent offense.

“This team is mentally tough,” she said. “They’re physically tough too. Five of them have played varsity since they were freshmen. They know what they need to do. They just need to step up to the line and do it.”

Box Elder, Region 5’s top seed, will host Maple Mountain in the tournament’s opening round.

“I’m not excited about Region 8 and Region 5 being lined up again,” Hodgson said. The two regions also squared off in the first round of the tournament last year.

“That’s a tough draw for both of us,” she said.

Maple Mountain is Region 8’s fourth seed and beat Mountain Crest, Region 5’s third seed, in a nonregion game a couple of weeks ago. The Golden Eagles are led by pitcher Carley Guymon.

Top-ranked Bonneville finished second in Region 5 and will host Springville in the tournament’s opening round. The Lakers are led by Andrea Hancock, who has handled the bulk of the pitching duties, while Cortney Porter, Abby Toller and Mykel Davis give the team offensive firepower.

Second-ranked Salem Hills will take on the Mustangs at home Tuesday. Salem Hills is led by last year’s MVP and pitcher Kirtlin Bohling.

Fourth-ranked Spanish Fork returns to 4A after playing for the 3A state title the last two years. A year ago, the Dons lost in the elimination game to Stansbury, and they have been just as successful in their return to 4A.

Spanish Fork is led by pitcher Kelsey Christensen, while Kaylie Bott, McKinley Brinkerhoff, Cheyenne Pratt and Brooke Davis help the team score a lot of runs.

The Dons host Roy on Tuesday.

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Fifth-ranked Murray relies on several pitchers, including Erin Hohnholt and Kayla Durfey. The Spartans will host Woods Cross in the tournament’s opening round. Co-Region 6 champion East will host Timpanogos, while Region 6’s top seed, Clearfield, will host Orem to open the 4A tournament.



Bountiful vs. Olympus

Roy vs. Spanish Fork

Maple Mountain vs. Box Elder

Timpanogos vs. East


Springville vs. Bonneville

Orem vs. Clearfield

Woods Cross vs. Murray

Mtn. Crest vs. Salem Hills

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