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Jordan softball looks to improve from last season

May 01, 2017 02:44PM ● Published by Billy Swartzfager

Team photo of the 2017 Jordan High School softball squad. (Shawnee Le Prey/Jordan Head Coach)

By Billy Swartzfager | billy@mycityjournals.com
 
Jordan High School’s softball team is hoping 2017 will be a better season than those of past years. First-year head coach, Shawnee Le Prey has a young, inexperienced team this season, some of whom are brand new to the sport, so the group certainly has an uphill battle in front of them. But the group is working on fundamentals and team work.
 
“Last year, we had our best group of girls and just couldn’t put it together,” Le Prey said.
 
The team finished fifth in their region on 2016, going 4-11 overall and 3-8 in region play. The team missed the postseason by one place. This year, the team is keeping their goals reasonable and within reach. Their main goal is always to improve over the previous year.
 
“We had three wins in region last year, this year we are shooting for four or more,” said the coach.
 
There are five returning upperclassmen for the Beetdiggers, three seniors and two juniors. Many of the starting players are sophomores, though most played a lot of innings last season. Catcher and team captain, Ina Malo is back for her senior year, a capable backstop and backbone for what the younger players need from a leader. Morgan Sterner is a senior as well and plays center field. Sterner missed many games during the season with an ankle injury, but has contributed heavily in leading the outfield since her return.  She also maintains a 3.9 GPA while playing softball and other sports. Julie Malo plays third base, and is one of the best athletes Le Prey has ever seen. Julie is a great hitter and is a junior this season.  Myriah Perry is also a senior and will hold down the fort in left field. And, junior Jessie Cowburn will be scooping all year at first base. While there are a lot of leaders who are older, some of the younger players act as leaders as well. Julie and Ina’s younger sister, Puavani Malo is playing shortstop in her sophomore year, but has also stepped in to pitch when the team needed her to, though she isn’t a pitcher.
 
According to the coach, Jordan can swing the bats really well. She said she is never too worried about whether or not her team will get the bat on the ball, which is their advantage when playing teams of a similar caliber.
 
“That is definitely our advantage, and it makes us hard to beat,” Le Prey said.
 
The young squad has worked tirelessly this season at practice and during games to build a sense of togetherness, but the Beetdiggers also took part in a tournament in Moab this season that also went a long way in bringing cohesiveness to the team.
“The last three years we never did any tournaments, so our team didn’t know what to look forward to,” said the coach. “Moab was a great experience, not only on the field but also to bring the team together. There are a lot of new girls this year, so having a chance to be together in a different environment was awesome. We will definitely go back.”
 
The state tournament begins May 23 at the Valley Complex in Taylorsville. Jordan is hoping to have put in enough work to get there. They will have had to rack up more than four Region 3 victories in order to make it happen though, and with tough teams like Bingham lurking, it may be tough. Le Prey, though, is proud of her team for showing up and making the effort in an attempt to win.
 
“It is so awesome seeing kids get involved in something they’ve never done and love it. I want to see these girls go on and do big things. I try so hard to help them do that,” she said.
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