Prep softball: Weber stands in way of Bingham's reclamation
Bingham is back or at least it could be.
From 2008 to 2010, the Miners ended their year with a championship. Last season that streak was broken by Roy, but the Royals have since moved down to Class 4A.
It would appear the stage is set for Bingham to start another run when the Class 5A softball tournament starts on Tuesday. But coach Mikki Jackson isn't counting her trophies yet and neither is her team.
"I think there's several teams that could come out on top," Jackson says. "To a degree, the girls create their own pressure. It's nice to have the tradition, because it makes them work that much harder."
Junior pitcher Paige Reimann is at the forefront of that charge, bearing more than a passing resemblance to the last ace who helped take the Miners all the way. Around her, there's an experienced and skilled group of position players who can hit and field with some of the best in the state.
At some point, it's likely that Bingham will have to contend with Weber, the rising star in 5A. The Warriors were the last 5A team to lose a game this season, and are well-equipped for a title run.
Pitcher McKenna Bull leads the state with 19 wins so far, a big factor in how Weber has become the best defense in 5A. But the Warriors lineup also has no shortage of power: Nicole Weiss and Taylor Stroud have combined for 14 home runs this season.
Copper Hills scrapped out of a tough Region 3 and has come on strong late behind senior infielder Amanda Cook. Taylorsville is a team without much buzz, but Jaycie Lebaron has been a stud on the mound and the Warriors could surprise after making a deep run last season.
Riverton has the stuff to win a championship, boasting a solid hitting team that has experience. Alta, Brighton and Viewmont aren't far behind, either. But Tuesday, most of these teams will be set on a closer goal: surviving.
"We've had a big problem going hot and cold," Alta coach Tiffani Airmet says. "I think we are good enough, we just want to be a bit more mature. Hopefully our best team shows up."