Pirates Softball Attains Goals As A Team
Jun 16, 2016 08:42AM
By Bryan Scott
The Cyprus Pirates had several games affected by mother nature this season. They did not let poor conditions affect their attitude. Photo courtesy of Cyprus softball
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Cyprus Pirates girls softball team is in uncharted waters. They have qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in six years.
“I think our season has been pretty amazing. We have certainly had some ups and downs, but the girls have responded very well to the challenges we have faced this year,” first year head coach Vanessa James said.
The season began with a disaster. The Pirates faced 5A powerhouse Taylorsville and lost 17-0. Four different players hit homeruns as the Warriors scored seven runs in the second inning, four in the third and six in the fourth. The rout was on and the season looked to be off to a dismal start.
Despite the poor start the Pirates turned things around and won six of their next eight games. That included shut outs over Skyline and Judge Memorial and a 25-2 victory over Hillcrest.
In their region contests the Pirates have averaged 10.7runs per game and only allowed 2.5.
“I feel like a big difference is that the girls are very dedicated this year to what goals we have set. Every time they step on the field it is about giving 120 percent on every pitch of every game. We do not want to regret a game or play we make,” James said.
Their 8-4 won-loss record qualified them for the state playoffs. They finished in third place in class 4A’s Region 6, behind Murray and Kearns. They are scheduled to face Springville in the first round of the playoffs May 17 (after press deadline).
Their state tournament appearance marks the first time since 2012 the Pirates have qualified for the playoffs. In their last appearance they were eliminated with two straight losses, Maple Mountain 15-1 and Westlake 10-2.
“We have had several players that have had great seasons. There is not one single player that leads us because we are a team. I feel like our success has come from the girls buying into what we have been doing from the beginning of the season,” James said.
Two sophomores have contributed on the Pirates pitching staff, Danielle Sanchez and Alexis Poulsen.
Poulsen recorded 12 strikeouts in the Pirtates first win of the season, a 9-5 victory over West Jordan March 8. She also belted a home run in the game.
“Both of our pitchers bring something different to the mound. They have both done a phenomenal job,” James said.
The Pirates opponents have called Poulsen one of the best pitchers in the state. The 5-foot-6 hard throwing lefty counters her strikeout speed with a devastating changeup. Her variety in pitches keeps opposing hitters off balance.
The Pirates roster includes only one senior. Sydney Empey. She hit .361 as a junior and compiled one victory as a bullpen pitcher. The experience of the Cyprus underclassman this season may make them a team to watch in the coming years.