It’s not a surprise that the Grantsville softball team is good — after all, the Cowboys are the defending Class 3A state champions.
I’m not sure that anybody realized they’re quite this good, though. I don’t think they realized it, either. But after their extra-innings loss to Spanish Fork in a game where they had the potential game-winning run in scoring position in the seventh inning, there’s no question about it.
The scary part of it is that they have just one senior — Kylee Leach, who came off the bench to pinch-hit in the sixth inning and was robbed of a would-be extra-base hit by an excellent defensive play. In Friday’s game, the Cowboys’ starting lineup included three freshmen (Breana Hiatt, August Cowan and Maison White), three sophomores (Maddison Peterson, Laura Sandberg and Bailey Frischknecht) and four juniors (Hailey Delaney, Addison Smith, Hannah Butler and Maizie Clark).
Some would worry about having so many young players playing key roles. But at Grantsville, that doesn’t seem to matter. Remember that Butler was a co-captain during the basketball season, and played a key role in the softball team’s state championship run last year as a sophomore. Clark and Smith were regulars for the softball team a year ago as well. Big games don’t bother them at all. Peterson had some big games for Grantsville last year as a freshman, and White was a key reserve for the basketball team during its run through the state tournament this winter.
If we’re honest, Grantsville has already seen the toughest competition it will see all season, and that includes the state tournament. They won’t see teams as good as Spanish Fork and Tooele in Class 3A. But there are several teams in 3A that have solid pitching and could catch lightning in a bottle.
Fortunately for Grantsville, it appears to have the depth to overcome that. The Cowboys approached Friday’s game like a state championship game and very nearly came out on top if not for an excellent recovery by Spanish Fork on a would-be two-base error in the seventh and an eighth-inning, two-out grand slam by one of the state’s top home run hitters. If the Cowboys were in Class 4A with the rest of their old region, they might not win it, but they’d be right in the hunt.
But if Friday’s game showed anything, it’s that Grantsville can compete with anybody. That alone should have the rest of Class 3A concerned.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He enjoys watching early-April softball games that have all the intensity of mid-May. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.