ST. GEORGE – The girls all lined up toward the end of practice to participate in a light-hearted game of what seemed to be the softball version of HORSE—a game where players stay alive with successful hits.
It was this light-hearted approach toward the end of practice that the Pine View High School softball team wants to take this season with a young group of girls.
“We get after them a bit,” Pine View coach Kim Hafen said. “So they need to relax a little bit.”
Hafen said he just held tryouts for the team during the first week of March. He said because of this he is still trying to figure out which girls should play what positions. However, he does have a few girls he is expecting to be the team leaders.
“We’re young,” Hafen said. “We’ve got four seniors and one junior. The rest are freshmen and sophomores.”
One of those sophomores Hafen is turning to is Kirsten Andersen, the team’s pitcher.
“She pitched all six games for us last week,” he said. “You hate to do that this early on, but we really don’t have another pitcher of that level. She’s a natural player. She’s just gifted.”
Hafen said Andersen always knows where she’s supposed to be when pitching. He said she always puts her foot in the right place.
In Pine View’s six games between Thursday, March 10, and Saturday, March 12, the Panthers came away with four wins. Andersen didn’t allow more than four runs in all six of those games, including a shut-out win against Richfield High School 17-0.
A few of the other players Hafen said he is happy to have include shortstop Taylor Watts, who recently moved to St. George from California, and senior catcher Kimber Fielding, who had been playing in the outfield for Pine View for the last two years.
“We didn’t have a catcher,” he said. “She has such a great arm, so we put her back there.”
Fielding has played in all of Pine View’s first six games at catcher.
There is one player that Hafen said has stepped up whom the team didn’t know anything. Hafen pointed at a short, blond girl as the players were exiting the field.
“Her name’s Kayla Hammon,” he said. “She’s never played organized softball before.”
Hammon is a freshman and started the first six games at second base for Pine View.
“We call her Roy Hobbs because she’s just kind of ‘The Natural’ out there,” Hafen said.
He said he wants to make sure the girls on the Pine View softball team have a great time. He said he knows how important it is to win, but he made sure to say these girls only get to go to high school once and they should enjoy themselves.
If Tuesday night’s practice is any indication of the girls having fun then the Panthers are accomplishing their goal.
You can see the Pine View softball team in action on Thursday, March 17, at Pine View High School as the Panthers take on Carbon High School. You can also see the team competing at Snow Canyon High School’s tournament during the weekend and again at Snow Canyon when the Panthers and Warriors open region play on Tuesday, March 22.