With a second-place finish in region and a top-eight finish at the state championships May 12-21, the Riverton High School softball team should be pretty proud of itself right now. But after making it all the way to the quarterfinals last year before losing to Taylorsville (10-0) and then Bingham (9-3), the girls were hoping to make it farther this time around.
“I think they’re disappointed with how things ended up,” said head coach Emily Bateman. “I am, too, but I’m proud of how this group handled the adversity that came their way during the state tournament. These girls were strong and showed a lot of heart through it all.”
During the preseason, the girls competed strong with an 11-6 record and a satisfying 2-1 win April 7 against rival Bingham. During region, the girls did even better with a record of 7-3, never losing by more than four runs and often bringing home wins with a margin of more than 10 points.
“A lot of players made great plays that had a major impact on the games -- plays like diving catches, pick offs, steals and double plays,” Bateman said. “Our young guys really stepped up when we needed them to, especially in the state tournament.”
Bateman believes all the girls played well this season and that no one player was more important than another but she was especially impressed with senior Joey Taylor. “She really played well and led the team offensively,” Bateman said.
Next year, Bateman will be looking at a much younger team with minimal varsity experience. With that in mind, Bateman plans to set the tone earlier, remind girls of her expectations more often and make sure the girls appreciate the chance to play varsity.
“The opportunity to be on the varsity team is a privilege that is earned and honored,” she said. “Only time will tell [how good next year’s team will be]. We have a lot of talent, but it will be young talent.”