Thanks to the weather, the Stansbury softball team hadn’t even practiced outside once coming into Wednesday’s season-opening game against Alta.
Judging by the result, the lack of field time didn’t hurt the Stallions too badly.
Senior pitcher Makayla Witkowski had eight strikeouts and allowed just two hits, and Stansbury’s patient approach at the plate allowed them to take advantage of control problems for Alta’s pitchers in a 12-1, five-inning game at Stansbury High School. The Stallions had just four hits, but drew 10 walks and were hit by pitches three times in addition to reaching base on an error.
“Just glad to get the game in — the weather’s been not very cooperative,” Stansbury coach Bridget Clinton said. “It’s always good to get that first game in. We’ve got a lot of returning players from last year and a lot of younger kids this year as well, so we’ve got a good mix.”
The Stallions (1-0) built a 4-0 lead in the first inning, with the first six batters all reaching base without making contact with the ball — at least not with the bat. Lindsey Allie, Kaeley Loader and Witkowski were all hit by pitches, while Kalee Philips, Payten Staley and Maame Johnson all walked. Makinley Miller’s fielder’s choice marked the first time the Stallions put the ball in play.
It was 5-0 after Allie’s leadoff walk and Loader’s base hit drove in another run in the bottom of the second, but Stansbury really got things going in the third when it erupted for seven runs. Stansbury’s first 10 batters of the inning all reached base, with Witkowski drawing a walk and hitting an RBI double.
As impressive as Stansbury’s offensive output was, the Stallions’ defense might have been even better. They didn’t make any errors, and the highlight of the day came when Johnson, a freshman in her first varsity game, made a running catch on a fly ball to deep center field to record the game’s final out.
“The defense made the plays when it was hit to them,” Clinton said. “Taking ground balls inside off the gym floor, it’s not the same, but they did good. It was nice to see Maame make that catch in the outfield at the end of the game, because we haven’t been able to do much outfielding inside a gym.”
Witkowski earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing just five baserunners in five innings and throwing 83 pitches. She also was 1-for-1 at the plate with three RBIs. Allie, the Stallions’ leadoff hitter, had two stolen bases and three runs scored.
Stansbury will travel to St. George this weekend to take part in the March Warm Up Elite tournament. The Stallions will face Union, Springville and Cedar on Friday, with games against Lake City (Idaho) and Davis on Saturday.
“If you want to be in the hunt at the end, you’ve got to be prepared,” Clinton said.