The Payson Mavericks' eighth-grade girls softball team finished its regular season with yet another bang and now move into postseason play with superior teamwork generating the confidence that could lead to the division championship.
The Mavs hit the road to Round Valley last week challenging an opponent with the history of turning out dominating teams. This time, however, Payson's domination resulted in the annihilation of Round Valley, 14-0.
"I think our superior pitching was our biggest strength in the game," coach Cheri Brennan said. "We really did an outstanding job all the way around on defense and we hit really well too. Christy Ewing did a really great job at third base and handled a couple of hard hits really well and she did a great job at bat too," Brennan said.
Starting pitcher Jessica Coleman pitched three innings, throwing strike after strike. Tanya Davis pitched the fourth and final inning when the game was finally called finished as a result of the 10-run rule.
"Tanya did very well and was very consistent throughout the inning she pitched," Brennan said.
On the other side of the field, Round Valley struggled on the mound. "Their first pitcher was not too great, and the second was quicker but pretty erratic. Pitching was really their downfall," the coach said.
The team finished its season with a record of 6-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Snowflake.
"This year, our team as a whole played very good and the players really complement each other. There's just a lot of talent in this group," she said. "They are doing a lot of advanced skills."
With this team moving on to high school next year, Brennan said the future of Lady Horns softball looks bright.
"This group is further ahead than teams I've seen in the past few years. They have more skills than many freshmen teams. We have at least four girls who can slap the ball really well which isn't easy."
Although the team is loaded with natural talent, Brennan said the mental part of game is also something the girls excel at. "It just makes it so much better and easier when the girls are really willing to try hard," she said.
The girls have their sights set now on the end of the year playoffs, with Payson being seeded in the top 5.
Although Payson has handled most opponents easily, the tournament is not something they are taking lightly.
Snowflake is hosting the tournament this Saturday and will be looking to defeat Payson again.
With a string of victories, increased teamwork, fundamental strength and a burning desire to win, the Lady Mavs just may have what it takes to climb to the top.