Virgin Valley High School girls softball coach Travis Griffith did not have a senior on last year’s squad. Five freshman, three sophomores and six juniors are counted on to push the Bulldogs to a good year. Twenty nine hopefuls began tryouts Saturday morning Feb. 27 in the Dawg Pound.
A problem arose prior to tryouts when two starters Emma Barnum and Bernice Fiso decided to play club volleyball in St. George, UT. Barnum a second baseman and leadoff player will be missed for her ability to get on base. Fiso, an active first baseman and batter, was counted on as a leader.
But not all is lost as the other 12 returnees bring enthusiasm and experience to Coach Griffith’s squad. As in baseball, pitching is the key position for any team’s quest for a great season and the Dawgs have that. Senior Adri Wakefield returns for her fourth season backed up by sophomore Savannah Price. Throw in the experienced senior Tylee Robison at catcher and you have the makings of a good staff.
If the Dawgs wish to improve on last year’s 5-9 1-A Sunrise League record, they must improve their defense and eliminate mental errors.
Also returning for the Lady Dawgs are outfielders, Kalee Clem, Kari Wakefield and Gizelle Navarro. Infield returnees are Janella Fiso, Taylor Barnum, Shalee Hafen and Jessica Barnum. Moving up from the J.V. squad are Taylor Bullock and Kezney Crompton. Newcomer Karla Correa will pitch for the J.V. squad but will be used on varsity when needed. Robison was named to the 1-A Sunrise League first team in 2015 and Fiso made the second squad at third base. Both seniors will be counted on to give the Dawgs, a steadying influence.
“Our key is our younger players,” said Griffith. “They are looking good at bat and should help right away. If we get consistency from our pitching staff we could go a long way. We should be better defensively and are further ahead of last year at this time.”
The Bulldogs will host the annual “Desert Winds Softball Classic” beginning March 10.