Region 9 softball season preview

Cedar High softball players Bryton Holyoak (L) and Dream Weaver | File photos by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — The high school softball preseason has just gotten underway, with the seven teams in the new-look Region 9 competing in the 4A classification for the first time. Here’s a brief look at each of the teams:

Cedar

Cedar, which went 10-0 in Region 9 play last year and secured a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs, did not lose any players to graduation from last year’s squad. However, sophomore Japrix Weaver is expected to miss the entire season due to a knee injury she suffered recently at the end of the basketball season. Returning for the Lady Reds are eight seniors, including Dream Weaver, Bryton Holyoak and Sage Oldroyd. Several other key players fill out the roster, including sophomore power hitter Denim Henkel.

The Lady Reds started off the preseason last Thursday with a 14-6 home loss to defending 3A champion Grantsville, which stayed 3A this year. Holyoak started the game at pitcher, lasting nearly five innings in the loss.

Then, at the March Warm-up Elite tournament in St. George last Friday and Saturday, the Lady Reds went 2-3 over the two days, beating Lake City, Idaho, 7-3 and defeating Springville 5-4, but losing to Davis 8-7, to Stansbury 10-5, and to Union 13-3.

Cedar’s next scheduled game is a non-region contest at home against Bear River Thursday at 3:30 p.m., weather permitting. The Lady Reds’ region schedule will begin Tuesday, March 20, with a contest at Dixie, also at 3:30.

Desert Hills

Desert Hills, which finished second in Region 9 last season with an 8-2 record, is already off to a promising start this year, winning four out of five games at the March Warm-up tournament in St. George last weekend.

During the two-day tournament, the Lady Thunder’s only loss was a 7-3 defeat at the hands of Bishop Kelly, Idaho. Desert Hills beat Coconino, Arizona, 5-1, Pleasant Grove 8-4, Timpanogos 14-0, and West Jordan 16-4. The team batted .370 over the five games, pounding 51 total hits, including three home runs. Pitching duties were shared by sophomore Oakley Giacoletto and senior Brianna St. Clair.

Desert Hills’ next scheduled contest is the region opener March 20 at Hurricane, at 4 p.m.

Snow Canyon

The Snow Canyon Lady Warriors were 5-5 in Region 9 play last year, making the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, but losing both of their state tournament games.

The Warriors are 4-2 since the 2018 preseason started last week, starting with a 12-1 win at home against Sky View on Thursday, March 8. Then, at the Warm-up Elite tournament in St. George Friday and Saturday, the Warriors defeated East 15-2, Layton 13-3, and Alta 14-3. Snow Canyon’s two defeats were a 6-2 loss to Wasatch and a 7-5 loss to Green Valley, Nevada.

In the East game, Snow Canyon took a slim 5-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning before exploding for 10 runs that inning to put the game out of reach.

Snow Canyon’s next scheduled game is a non-region contest at home vs. Bountiful at 7 p.m. Friday. The Warriors will begin region play Tuesday, March 20 when they host Pine View at 4 p.m.

Hurricane

Hurricane finished with a 4-6 region record last year, qualifying for the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 9, but losing both of its state tournament games.

Saturday, March 10, Hurricane hosted a small tournament of its own, winning three out of four games it played that day. The Lady Tigers started off with an 8-3 win over Parowan, followed by a 10-5 victory over Bear Lake, Idaho. Hurricane then lost to Kanab 9-5 before rebounding to defeat 1A’s Panguitch by a score of 9-2 in the evening.

Freshman pitcher Chantelle Pearson picked up two of Hurricane’s wins in the circle Saturday. The Lady Tigers were led in hitting by senior Heather Stout, who was 5 for 10 from the plate over the four games, while freshman Haven Smith was 4 for 4 in the two games she played. All told, the Lady Tigers amassed 26 hits as they scored 32 runs in four games, batting .313 as a team.

Hurricane has five games scheduled March 16-17 in St George. On Friday, the Lady Tigers will face Eldorado High from Las Vegas, followed by Emery and Morgan high schools at the Canyons complex. Saturday, the Lady Tigers are scheduled to face North Sevier at 3:45 p.m. and Viewmont at 6 p.m., with both of those games taking place at the Little Valley complex.

Hurricane’s first region game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, at home against Desert Hills at 4 p.m.

Canyon View

Canyon View, a new addition to Region 9 this season, played in 3A’s Region 12 last year, where they finished 4-4 in region play, qualifying for the state playoffs as the No. 3 seed before losing to Desert Hills in the opening round.

The Lady Falcons have yet to play a game this year, but are scheduled to play Manti Thursday afternoon at 3:30 at Canyon View. The following day in St. George, Canyon View has three games scheduled. After facing Wasatch at noon, the Lady Falcons will play Oaks Christian High of California at 4 p.m., followed by Olympus at 8 p.m. The Lady Falcons will then face Uintah the following afternoon at 2 p.m., also as part of the Dixie Tournament.

Head coach Tony Krepps said the Lady Falcons are a young team, with just two seniors this year. However, they have six juniors with varsity playing experience. They hope to qualify for the playoffs by finishing among the top four in the region, Krepps said.

Canyon View will begin region play at home against Hurricane on Friday, March 23, at 4 p.m.

Pine View

Pine View, which went 2-8 in Region 9 play last year, played its first two preseason contests last week, losing both games at home.

The Lady Panthers lost to Union 10-3 on Wednesday, March 7. The following afternoon, Pine View lost to American Fork, 16-14.

Pine View has a pair of non-region home contests scheduled for Thursday, March 15. The Lady Panthers are scheduled to face the Gunnison Lady Bulldogs at 4 p.m., followed by the Carbon Lady Dinos at 7:30 p.m.

Then, on March 16-17, the Lady Panthers are scheduled to play five games at a tournament in the Bloomington complex in St. George. Pine View will play Summit Academy at 11:15 a.m. Friday, followed by a contest against South Sevier at 3:45 that afternoon.

Saturday, the Panthers are scheduled to face three teams from out of state: Rigby, Idaho, at 9 a.m., Moapa Valley, Nevada, at 1:30 p.m., and Page, Arizona, at 3:45 p.m.

Pine View’s first region game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, at Snow Canyon, starting at 4 p.m.

Dixie

Dixie, which finished the 2017 season with a 1-9 record in Region 9 play, has already played five preseason games in 2018, all of them losses. At the March Warm-up tournament in St. George last Friday and Saturday, the Lady Flyers lost to Granger 12-1, fell to SkyRidge 11-1, lost to Idaho Falls 14-0, lost to Orem 14-8, and lost to Sky View 16-1.

The Lady Flyers have five more preseason games scheduled for this week. On Thursday, March 15, Dixie will take on Oaks Christian of California at 4 p.m. Then, on Friday, Dixie will play Piute at 10 a.m. and Olympus at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Dixie will play Spanish Fork at 8 a.m. and Manti at 4 p.m.

Dixie’s first region contest is at home against Cedar High on Tuesday, March 20, at 3:30 p.m.

Starting March 20 and continuing for seven weeks thereafter, all seven of the Region 9 schools will play either one or two games per week, until each team has played the other six schools twice, once at home and once away. Most of the teams also have invitational tournaments and other non-region games interspersed with their region schedules.

The regular season will end May 4, with the first-round playoff games taking place May 12 on the home fields of the higher-seeded schools. The winners of the first-round games will advance to the double-elimination state 4A tournament May 17-19 in Spanish Fork.

 

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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