You know spring is near as the sounds of play ball will be echoing on the hill at Virgin Valley High School beginning Thursday, March 8, as the Lady Dogs host their annual Desert Winds Softball Tournament.
Also kicking off their 2018 season are the Bulldog girl and boy Track and Field teams on March 9 as the Dawgs begin the season once again with their big ‘Early Bird Invitational’ which features as many as 11 teams competing from Divisions 1-A to 3A.
“We have a good mix of girls this year,” said Lady Dawg softball head coach Travis Griffiths. “Were young once again but have an experienced roster back. “ Returning starter Savannah Price returns as well as Kari Wakefield who sat out last year.
“Her return gives the Bulldogs two experienced starters. The Dawgs also feature a large group of returning starters including seniors Taylor Barnum behind the plate and infielders Calee Clem and Ashlee Faught.
Last year’s freshman starters in the outfield Taylor Ostrowski and Melissa Vanorsdale return with a year’s experience under their belt. Senior Jessie Barnum, Rylea Smothers and Karyme DeSantiago return splitting their time between the infield and outfield.
The Dawgs have no way but up this year as they finished 2017 with a 1-9 3A record and 10-19 overall. Price and Taylor Barnum both achieved honors last season, Price was named to the 3A Sunrise League first team and Barnum made the second team.
The schedule for the Desert Winds opening games was not available at this writing but will be posted on line prior to Thursday. Long time competitor St. Thomas Aquinas returns again with a strong squad.
Track and Field
“Our numbers are good on the boy’s side so depth will not be a problem,” said head coach Gary Hartman. “We are lacking in experience though. On the girl’s side we have excellent quality but lack numbers. We should be a better invitational team than the week day meets.”
Leading the way for the Bulldog boys are Brogan Bingham in the vault and sprints, Taua Fiso in the weights, Braden Bingham and Jaiden Juan in the jumps, Justin Danh in the sprints and Victor Colmenero in the middle distance.
The Lady Dawgs will be led by sprinters Macee Bundy, Nikita Eskelsen and Emily Teerlink. Teerlink and Eskelsen will also be strong in the jumps. Emma Wilson returns in the pole vault but the Dawgs biggest strengths could be in the distance races.
The Dawgs should get points from Sarah Walters, Alyssa Ponce and Julia Ramirez in the middle distance races and senior Viviana Vega in the distance races. The Bulldogs will be strong again in the relays both short and long with experienced runners on all legs.