The Middle School Maverick Girls Softball Team won their season-opener last Thursday, and if the action was indicative of things to come, a strong defense - including superior pitching - will be at the heart of what leads them on to more victories.
Last Thursday, a capacity crowd cheered the Mavs on as they trounced the Heber Mustangs, with the game being called due to the 10-run rule, with a final score of 19 to 9. Superior pitching, fielding and hitting were the undeniable attributes which lead the girls to the easy win.
Danielle O'Haver took the mound for the Mavs and never looked back, demonstrating perhaps the most significant contrast to the effort offered by the Mustangs. O'Haver brings to the mound seven years of experience, four of those as a pitcher. Her aggressive approach to pitching was obvious when asked what she likes most about pitching. "I just like striking 'em out" she said. Her positive, yet aggressive attitude shines through when talking about this year's season.
"We're going to win and we're going to win because we're good," she said.
Though the pitching is looking very strong, it takes an entire team effort to continue to win, and the Mavs seem to have that covered.
"We're a real well-rounded team and we'll be powerful because of it," Coach Gary Ritter said. "We really just don't have any weak spots. We had great plays all over the field today. Lacy Meyers made some great throws to home today. We really have a very strong infield."
The outfield looked well practiced too with a number of outstanding plays including a running catch and fast throw by right fielder Sarah Donovan. Once again, winning team spirit was evidenced in Donovan too.
"We're the best We're the Mavericks," she said.
Despite the confidence of the Maverick players, they know that that alone will not be enough to produce a winning season.
Ritter said there are some tough teams to play this year and it will take a lot of hard work and preparation.
"Show Low and Snowflake usually give us the best run for our money, they'll be tougher than what we saw today" he said.
Because the seventh-grade players have never been in any type of organized league play when they were younger, Ritter said it's harder to know what to expect from them.
"With seventh-grade, you never know what the other team has to offer because you've never had the chance to see them before" he said.
The Mavs face an eight-game season including one tournament. Their next game will be at 3:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Rumsey Park against Snowflake.
The eighth-grade girls team also will be at home playing at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on the High School field.
Thursday, the seventh-graders will travel to Joseph City while the eighth-graders will play at home at 3:30 p.m. on the high school field.