It was a special season for a U14 girls fast-pitch softball team comprised of players from Hyde Park, Clarkston, North Logan and Smithfield.
The North Logan Thunder recently capped off a undefeated season with an impressive 17-5 victory over a team from Mendon in the championship game of their league tournament, which was contested at Green Canyon High School. The league featured teams from all around Cache Valley.
“The fun part about it was with almost all the girls on the team being first-year players, they were just learning on the (fly),” Thunder head coach Joaby Parker said. “But as with almost every other sport, good athletes transition over (smoothly into other sports), and most of these girls are fairly serious in other sports.”
The scary thing for future opponents of the Thunder is all but one of their players will be back next summer. All but one of them are incoming eighth-graders.
Although the lion’s share of them were first-year players, seven of them had competed on a successful basketball team together, thus ensuring some cohesion prior to the season. This unity was evident on the field, Parker asserted.
“I’ve coached football now for 15 years and 10 or so have been at the high school level,” Parker said. “However, coaching girls basketball and coaching girls in general can be so much more rewarding because when great things happen, they all celebrate it. And it’s a little bit different than boys (sports).
“Boys, when they do great things, it’s almost like, ‘that’s what I was supposed to do or that’s what we were supposed to do,’ and they do celebrate it. But when girls do good things, the entire team celebrates, and to me that’s been so rewarding to watch them progress and then transition from one sport to the other.”
North Logan quickly dispatched of several of its opponents during the regular season, and that trend continued in tournament play. The Thunder were unstoppable offensively in the championship game as all of their players had at least one hit, including three apiece from Avery Parker and Brooklyn Curtis.
Additionally, the Thunder belted six extra-base knocks, which was highlighted by an inside-the-park home run by Curtis. Olivia Phillips and Janalynn Blotter tripled, while Mya Hinds and twin sisters Avery and Ally Parker doubled.
Not only was Curtis a force at the plate, she consistently mowed down opposing batters as the Thunder’s primary pitcher.
“Brooklyn Curtis is really years ahead (of the curve) right now,” coach Parker said. “She’s probably good enough to where, even though she’s only going into eighth grade, she could compete with a lot of high school pitchers out there. And she’s put in the time, too. She’s gone to a bunch of camps and she really wants to be good, and it shows out there. When you have somebody that’s able to pipe it down there with some speed and accuracy, it’s pretty intimidating.”
In addition to the aforementioned players, the Thunder were represented by Kaylee Calderwood, Tailor Godfrey, Taylie Balls, Brooklyn Smith, Jaylee Blotter, Cassie Whittaker and Courtney Hinds. Coach Parker was assisted by Kevin Blotter.
Coach Parker is looking forward to coaching these girls again in the future, plus watching them excel even further down the road.
“What’s going to be fun is to watch the future of Green Canyon softball,” he said. “They have some years ahead of them that I know there’s a bunch of really athletic, good softball players, and these girls are progressing into Green Canyon and I think there’s some special years coming up.”