Freshmen take the lead in Ute victories

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Brent Uberty

(Brent Uberty/The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Junior Kate Dickman up to bat at a game last fall at the home stadium. Photo by Brent Uberty.
Junior Kate Dickman up to bat at a game last fall at the home stadium. Photo by Brent Uberty.
The future looks bright for Utah at the plate as the freshmen are taking charge.
The Utes have gone 6-4 in their first 10 games this season but have outscored their opponents 75-54. The reason behind this offensive outburst is simply because Utah has been hitting out of the park. What is even more impressive is that the aforementioned freshmen are leading the way.
“I think that this is the best class that has been brought in since I have been here,” said head coach Amy Hogue.
The Utes have recorded 13 home runs thus far in the season, coming from six different players who have all hit multiple balls out of the park. The “Freshman Four” of Bella Secaira, Bridget Castro, Hannah Flippen and Anissa Urtez are all part of that list and have stepped up in big ways so far in the campaign.
In addition to the home runs, Utah as a team has recorded 65 RBI’s this season with 38 of them coming from the freshmen. Castro leads the team with 12, while Flippen and Urtez are not far behind with 11 and 10 respectively.
“I knew they were phenomenal players coming in,” Hogue said. “They have done nothing but get better since they got here.”
Of the eight home runs that were hit last weekend for the Utes, three of them came off of the bat of Flippen. She has assumed the starting second base position for Utah and never thought she would have been such a big part to the team’s success this early in her career, at least not in this way.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a defensive player,” Flippen said. “I’m not a typical home run hitter. I am a typical base hitter, someone who can get on base and score.”
On top of the outstanding play from the freshmen, juniors Kate Dickman and Marissa Mendenhall have been putting together solid seasons of their own, as they have combined for four home runs and 16 RBIs.
The impressive hitting through the lineup can be accredited to a number of reasons, but Hogue believes it’s all a part of their confidence. Something she has stressed to her team is that they can’t hesitate at the plate. Flippen echoed her coach in terms of confidence, as she believes hers has grown, and that is a big reason why she is performing so well this season.
The offense has been acting as a safety net for the team as it allows them to not panic as much, staying mentally strong throughout the game.
“It goes to show, you can’t count us out even if we give up a couple runs,” Hogue said.
With all the success coming from the freshman class, it is easy to forget these athletes are less than a year removed from high school. Hogue attributes their success to the hard work they have put into improving their hitting.
“They haven’t been playing like freshmen,” Hogue said. “It is a big confidence booster.”
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