SALT LAKE CITY — Last year, West made history with its first 5A title.
This year, the Panthers will try to defend that championship, but there will be new teams challenging them in that pursuit. The rest of those involved in last year’s semifinals all moved up to the newly created 6A, while West remained in 5A.
The Panthers return the bulk of last year’s state title team, including junior Hunter Ava, who finished the regular season with a .714 batting average. Senior Jazmyn Rollin finished the regular season with a .585 batting average and a .712 on-base percentage. Junior Keisha White earned a batting average of .552 and 34 RBIs, while junior Kamora Masina had a .500 batting average and 22 RBIs.
There are some new faces on the field, including J Vaenuku, who was hitting .500 in 58 at bats.
The Panthers won the Region 6 title and will host Woods Cross Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Bountiful is ranked second, and the Braves earned the Region 5 title, so they’ll host fourth-seeded East Tuesday.
Box Elder is ranked third and is seeded No. 2 from Region 5, which means the Bees will host Olympus in the first round.
Maple Mountain is ranked No. 4 after finishing the season 20-6-1 and winning the school’s first region title without a loss. The Golden Eagles will host Brighton in the first round, while Region 6’s Murray (second seed) and Region 5’s Roy (third seed) square off in the same bracket.
Wasatch is ranked fifth and is the top seed from Region 7. The Wasps will host Alta in the first round of the playoffs. The Wasps' only two region losses are to Maple Mountain.
Corner Canyon is the No. 1 seed from Region 7 after starting the season with seven straight losses. The Chargers only lost one region contest, which was a one-run defeat to Cottonwood. The Chargers open against Skyridge Tuesday.
The first two games of the 5A playoffs are at home sites, after which the double-elimination tournament moves to the Valley Complex in Taylorsville.