Strong pitchers boost softball team?s confidence

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

Change is in the air for the Utah softball team.

In the first half of their Fall Schedule, the Utes have been focusing on getting everybody settled and ready for the upcoming season.

“We have eight new players, which is a lot,” head coach Amy Hogue said. “We’ve really just watched and moved players around to see what we’ve got.”

Hogue said most members of the team have played in at least two or three different positions in their first four games. Despite the continually changing lineup, there is one thing the Utes are confident of8212;they are going to be strong in the circle this season.

In the four games the team has played, all four Utah pitchers have seen game time. Hogue said she is pleased with what she has seen so far.

“This is the first time in 15 years that a Utah softball team has had this much depth on the mound,” Hogue said. “It’s really exciting to watch.”

The Utes have two pitchers returning from last year, junior Ashley Smuda and sophomore Brittany Parker.

“They both gained a lot of valuable experience last year that will help them out this season,” Hogue said.

In addition to the returning players, the coaching staff added junior Lindsey Palmer, a transfer from SLCC, and incoming freshman Joni Cook.

“Joni has the potential to be No. 1 right out of the chute,” Hogue said. “They are all going to have to keep working hard and really compete for their spot on the mound.”

Having such strong pitchers on the mound will help take some of the pressure off the Utah offense.

Hogue said last year her team had to score six or seven runs to win a game, which is hard even for good hitters.

Utah’s strong pitching should lower that requirement.

“We should be able to keep teams at two runs or less,” Hogue said. “You can go along with good pitchers, and that’s what we plan to do.”

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