Mountain Ridge softball aiming for school’s first region championshipApr 27, 2021 12:38PM ● By Justin Adams
Junior pitcher Maryn Murdock releases a pitch in a match against Kearns. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
With a 12-1 start to the season (7-1 in region), the Mountain Ridge softball team has high hopes for its first full season, including a goal to capture the school’s first region championship for a team sport.
“One thing I’m really excited for is that we have a chance to be the first team here at Mountain Ridge to win a region title,” said head coach Andre Ashton, who previously coached baseball at West Jordan High and boys basketball at Herriman High. “None of our other sports have been able to do that yet.”
While individual athletes such as swimmers and wrestlers have won region and state championships for the second-year school and the school's drill team secured a region championship, but no team competing in a head-to-head sport has yet won a trophy for the Sentinels.
Even last year, in the school’s inaugural year, Ashton expected his team to do well.
“With our whole new school, there was a theme of us getting beat up on,” he said.” But softball-wise, we had a lot of girls come over from Riverton and Herriman.”
Taegan Smith, a junior shortstop and a team captain, said she was intrigued by the prospect of helping to build a new program from scratch.
“I wanted to come here so I could build a legacy and make a name for Mountain Ridge,” she said.
Of course, that legacy-building had to be put off for a year.
“We were going to have a good year,” Ashton said. “We started off 2-1. All our other sports were super young and inexperienced. But we were expecting to have a really good season last year, but obviously that got cut short.”
If there were any Region 7 coaches who underestimated the brand new school last year, they’ve certainly been made aware by now. In five region games so far, the team has outscored its opponents 82-18. In all competition, it holds a 158-24 scoring advantage.
The Sentinels have 10 players with a batting average of .400 or better (minimum of 20 at-bats). Junior Tessa Hokanson leads the team in runs and hits with 24 apiece and has a .667 batting average. Smith leads the team in home runs (seven) and RBI (29). The other team captain, senior outfielder Kiley Avery, is batting .636 and has 21 hits and has scored 20 runs.
“The strength of our team is definitely our hitting,” Smith said. “We’re also gelling really well and all getting along as a team.”
Ashton agreed that hitting is the team’s strength but added that they still need to work on its defense if it wants to achieve its goals.
“Our defense is coming along,” he said. “We’ve had a couple errors in the first few games. We’re always going to hit, and then if our defense and pitching come along on the backside, I think we’re going to be pretty hard to beat.”
The Sentinels softball team may very well end up competing against multiple other Mountain Ridge teams to claim the first region championship for the school. At the time of the City Journals press deadline, the boys soccer team was 5-1 in region play, while the boys and girls lacrosse teams were both 6-0.