The Grantsville softball team may be young, with just four seniors, but Wednesday’s season-opening 16-1 win over Juan Diego Catholic showed the Cowboys have plenty of potential.
“We’re small but we’re versatile,” Grantsville coach Heidi Taylor said. “It’s hard to say because we’ve only been on the dirt, like, two and a half days, and that includes [Wednesday], but I’m excited. We’ve got nowhere to go but up.”
The Cowboys (1-0) are led by seniors Alese Casper, Breanna Dzierzon, Reannon Justice and Brayle Crosman, who all have plenty of big-game experience. Casper is the team’s top pitcher and Crosman is the starting catcher, while Justice’s powerful bat and Dzierzon’s range in the outfield add to a talented Grantsville lineup.
“I think we have really great potential. Everyone’s very versatile so there’s potential for everyone to play everything,” Casper said.
Crosman is coming off a successful season with Grantsville’s girls basketball team, which won the Region 10 title. She said she and teammates like junior Paige McCluskey and sophomore Hannah Butler hope to carry that over to the softball diamond.
“I think it’s a huge momentum change,” Crosman said. “Usually, we come from a basketball team who isn’t used to winning and come into a [softball] program that is really used to winning. It’s kind of a weird shift over to a program that’s really big into winning, but this year’s different.”
Justice, who smacked a two-run home run to straightaway center field in the first inning of Wednesday’s win, said this year’s team is more close-knit than in years past, though the players are also competing with one another for playing time in a deep lineup that may not be the same from one game to the next.
“Anyone is able to play anywhere on this team,” Justice said. “That’s what makes us so good right now. We’re just going to keep going and going and going and push each other.”
Dzierzon said the four seniors are relishing their leadership role, and they know how important it is to get all the underclassmen on the same page in order to get where they want to go.
“We’ve got a really young team this year but everyone’s been working really hard,” Dzierzon said. “We’re going to have to step it up as leaders so we can teach them and get going as strong as we were last year.”
Taylor feels that getting everyone to work as a unit shouldn’t be a problem with this year’s team.
“This team — they really like each other,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion as she talked about how close the Cowboys are as a group. “Basketball was so successful, had so much fun and got along so well that it carries right over to softball. A core of these [players] are those same basketball players so they know what it takes to be a positive team and to make that difference.”
Crosman said that creating that camaraderie has been a recurring theme throughout the Grantsville sports program this year.
“One thing we’re really focusing on throughout all of the girls’ sports is making sure everybody’s tight and make sure we’re all boosting each other up and building each other up instead of tearing each other down,” she said.
Grantsville’s lineup is fluid at this point, with Taylor noting the possibility of the lineup being vastly different from day to day. On Wednesday, the Cowboys had Butler at first base, Maizie Clark at second, McCluskey at shortstop, Kylee Leach at third, Dzierzon in left field, freshman Bailey Frischknecht in center and Addison Smith in right to go with Casper and Crosman. Justice served as the designated player, batting in place of Frischknecht.
Leach and Crosman also had home runs, while Casper had a double and a triple, Clark had two doubles and Butler and McCluskey each had two singles as Grantsville needed just four innings to finish off the Soaring Eagle (0-1).
Casper allowed one run on three hits, striking out six and walking two in four innings for Grantsville.