The top-ranked Juab Wasps have had a year to think about how two runs in two games made the difference between being a runner-up for the 3A softball title or the 3A champs.
Last year, the Wasps lost 2-1 to perennial power Bear River in the semifinals and then lost in the championship game to the Bears by the same score. They've turned disappointment into focus this spring, earning an 18-3 record overall and a 10-0 record in region play.
The toughest opening-round bracket in the 3A tournament that begins this Saturday at the home sites of the region champions. The Wasps will host Hurricane, while fourth-ranked Ridgeline will play fifth-ranked Stansbury afterward.
The losers will play later in the afternoon, and that means one ranked team will be in the one-loss bracket before even heading to the state tournament site — the Spanish Fork Softball Complex — May 18.
The Wasps are led by pitcher Taylei Williams, who not only has a 16-1 record this spring but also has nine doubles and seven home runs. Kloie Park, Reggie Myers, Maddie Myers and Olivia Durbin are also important factors in the team’s success this season.
The only other 3A team to win a region title without a loss is second-ranked Cedar, that opens the tournament with Carbon High in Cedar City.
The Region 9 champions will also host second-seeded Tooele vs. third-seeded Logan.
Cedar City is led by pitcher Bryton Holyoak, Dream Weaver, Pua Johnson, Denim Henkel and Japrix Weaver.
Third-ranked Bear River will face Union at home, with second-seeded North Sanpete and third-seeded Snow Canyon playing in Garland, as well.
The Bears are led by pitcher Kapri Toone, who leads the defense and is one of the squad’s best hitters, as well. Mercedes Call, Taylor Fox, Ashley Hess and Josie Larkin have been key in helping the Bears secure another region title.
Fourth-ranked Ridgeline shared that region title with the Bears after the two teams split in region play, with the Riverhawks winning the first meeting and the Bears winning the second.
Ridgeline is led by pitcher Mailee Jensen, who owns a 12-4 record, as well as, Tyler Thornton, Mya Washington, Lindsey Anderson and Alleigh May.
Fifth-ranked Stansbury earned a spot in the rankings with a 7-6 win over Grantsville, but the Cowboys earn the Region 10 title with one more victory than the Stallions.
Stansbury is led by pitcher Makayla Witkowski, who earned a 10-5 record, while Lindsey Allie, Kambree Christiansen, Kaeley Loader and Alyssa Oxborrow are all key contributors.
Grantsville hosts the fourth group of first-round games. The Cowboys open the tournament with four-seeded Juan Diego, while Desert Hills will take on Canyon View in the other game at Grantsville High.
The Cowboys have a deep pitching staff led by Alese Casper. Addison Smith, Madison Peterson and Paige McCluskey are all talented pitchers. The team’s led offensively by Reannon Justice, Kylee Leach and Hannah Butler.