Young team takes the field for Alta softballApr 09, 2018 10:47AM ● By Ron Bevan
Alta’s Jaden Williams is one of just three seniors on this year’s softball team. Williams possesses an off-speed pitch with a lot of movement. (Photo/Brady Oliver)
At the high school level of athletics, you sometimes don’t get to choose who plays a particular sport. Yes, a coach gets to select from those who come out for a team, but it sometimes creates a disparity in age.
So it is with Alta’s softball team this season. After graduating the bulk of last year’s squad, Alta’s team looks dramatically different this season. There are only three returning seniors playing for the Hawks, and the bulk of the team are incoming freshmen.
Even the coaching staff looks slightly different. Longtime Alta coach Tiffany Airmet has retired due to off-campus workloads, so former assistants Todd Thompson and Cheyella Myers have stepped into a co–head-coaching system.
“We have been together for three years as Airmet’s assistants,” Thompson said. “When it came time to name a new head coach, it was natural for us to share the responsibilities.
Alta’s three returning starters are Mackenzie McGuire, known as MacMac, Jaden Williams and Maggie Wright. All three play a multitude of positions given their experience.
Williams is a pitcher on the team as well as a utility player, going where she is needed at the time.
“Williams isn’t the fastest pitcher out there,” Thompson said. “But she throws a lot of off speed pitches that fools a lot of batters. She also works hard to get better. She has been spending off practice time working on her hitting and it is really coming around.”
Wright is mostly an outfielder, but also plays where she is needed.
“This is the first year Wright has gotten a lot of starts,” Thompson said. “She is just a consistent player who can handle different positions.”
McGuire is also a part-time starter who is used primarily for her defensive skills.
With just three seniors, Alta depends on several underclass players to fill in roster slots. The Hawks have a total of nine freshmen on the varsity squad.
“We started five freshmen in the St. George tourney at the beginning of the season,” Thompson said. “It is good to have that many playing varsity as far as the future goes, but it is tough to start out a season with that many. They are facing players with three more years’ maturity.”
Alta also leans on some talented juniors, including Carson Snuffer at the shortstop position. Snuffer was a First Team All-State second basemen as a freshman. She has moved to short this season because Thompson felt her talents were better utilized at the position.
Although the team is young, Thompson is challenging the squad to step up and compete.
“It is a good roster we have this year, even though they are young,” Thompson said. “It will be exciting to see what these girls can do this season and on into the future.”