Cottonwood softball, tennis teams are young but ready to battle on
May 10, 2017 11:00AM
By Brian Shaw
The Cottonwood boys tennis team for 2017. (Andrew Marks/Cottonwood tennis)
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
After playing a promising preseason tournament in St. George in which the Cottonwood Colts girls softball team got its only win of the season, the reality of being such a young team set in fast when they returned home.
The Colts held Timpanogos scoreless at home for two innings on March 15, but a nine-run third inning by Timpanogos left the Colts tasting a 12-2 loss.
In their final preseason game of 2017 though, the Colts welcomed Provo to Murray on March 16 and battled Provo to the bitter end. If not for a four-run fifth inning, the Colts may have left the field with their second victory, according to Alissa Smith, the team’s head coach.
“We’re young but we still have fight in us,” said Smith about her team. Never was that more apparent than in the next game when the Colts traveled to West Jordan in their region opener March 21 to take on the Jaguars.
At West Jordan, the Colts fell behind early thanks to a three-run home run. But, three runs in the top of the sixth inning for the Colts narrowed the gap in a 6-4 loss.
A much-needed Spring Break came about the next two weeks for the Colts, who despite having such a young team are doing some good things, according to Smith.
As expected, sophomore Carlie Roberts is taking her lumps on the mound, carrying a 1-4 record as the team’s pitching ace. She also has the only win in what looks like a tough region for the Colts.
The real test for them came right after the break on April 4 as the Colts welcomed powerhouse squad Bingham to their campus. The Miners bats pummeled the Colts for eight runs in the first three innings of play—then exploded for nine more in the fifth inning—ending the game with an 18-0 win per the UHSAA runs rule.
Two days later on April 6, the Colts jumped on the bus and headed west for Granger for a non-region date with the much-improved Lancers, who opened a tight game with seven runs in the fourth inning en route to handing the Colts a 10-0 loss.
On the season, the Colts are now winless in region play—with one win overall. But, Smith said not to count out her Colts yet. There’s still plenty of play left to go for Cottonwood, who as of press time on April 14, is one of three winless teams in the region (Jordan and Brighton are the others).
On a team loaded with freshmen and sophomores, the goal for Cottonwood tennis coach Andrew Marks in 2017 is to “win a few” games.
“Our varsity and JV teams graduated last year so we’re in rebuild mode. We have four returning seniors who comprise our varsity doubles teams,” said Marks, who is also a teacher at the school. “All other positions are played by freshmen and sophomores.”
Easier said than done with only four returning seniors, but Marks has done this kind of thing before.
Last year, for example, the Colts served up a few victories after losing 5-0 to Bingham in the season opener. As the season wore on though, the Colts resolve strengthened and after losing 5-0 to region power Brighton 5-0 they began their climb.
In the next match, the Colts knocked off Taylorsville 4-1 and nearly upset a tough Jordan squad, losing 3-2. In the next three matches in succession, the Colts tennis team was all aces, blasting West Jordan 5-0 and Copper Hills 4-1 before again defeating Taylorsville.
In the return match against Bingham, the Colts even won a match, falling 4-1 but nevertheless impressing against the mighty Miners to close out region play last year.This year, the tennis team will work towards getting back to what they did last year. The region slate is loaded with teams to watch. According to Marks, Brighton, Bingham and Jordan all present challenges to his young team. It will all hopefully culminate in a trip to the 5A Utah State Tennis Championships at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City in May.