Offense heats up for Highland softball
May 09, 2018 15h56
By Josh McFadden
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
After some early offensive struggles, the Highland softball team started cranking off runs like it was nothing. Head coach Jenny Hardy hopes the fielding can catch up.
The Rams started region play off 1-1, in the first two of what will be 10 total games in Region 6. Highland must finish no lower than fourth place to qualify for the 5A state tournament. The program has had its share of struggles the past several years. Highland last qualified for the state tournament in 2009.
This season has featured more challenges for Highland, but the team is starting to show some life, especially at the plate. When the Rams picked up their first win of the season on April 16, they piled up an eye-opening 23 runs in a 20-run blowout of East. The victory left Highland just one win short of last season’s region total when it went 2-10 in Class 4A’s Region 5.
Even in defeat, Highland hasn’t had trouble getting players on bases and to home plate. On April 10 at Skyline, the Rams amassed 13 runs, including 10 in the fourth inning alone. Five days earlier at Park City, Highland was even more prolific, scoring 19 runs. The Rams registered five runs in the third inning and nine more in the fourth. Unfortunately, in both losses, Highland allowed 29 runs.
At the March Warm-Up Classic in St. George on March 17, Highland lost to American Leadership[LL1] 15-11 in yet another high-scoring affair. Interestingly, in the four games prior to this one, the Rams scored a total of just three runs—all in an 18-3 loss to Cottonwood in the St. George Tournament.
Hardy knows the road ahead is challenging. In Region 6, the Rams must deal with the likes of West, Olympus, Skyline, Murray and East. But the team has already made progress. Though the Rams are allowing an alarmingly high number of runs, they also averaged nearly nine a game during the first eight outings.
The Rams will finish their regular season with a home game against Murray on May 10. If they are fortunate to secure a 5A state tournament berth, they will play a road or home game on May 15. First- and second-seeded teams will host third- and fourth-seeded opponents in rounds one and two. On May 22, those teams that survive the double-elimination tournament will move to the Valley Complex in Taylorsville for the rest of the playoffs.