Clearfield • The negative numbers are a tad overwhelming.
So, it helps to approach the 2012 Clearfield girls' softball season without any long-term memory, which goes nicely with the batch of freshmen and sophomores who have clearly infused the Falcons with newfound talent and expectations.
"We expect to win, not hope to win," second-year Clearfield coach Nicole Tindall said. "Now, they can believe they can win."
In the four years prior to this season, the Falcons' wings were definitely clipped, having won just four games. And three of those came in 2008.
Now, helped in part by a drop from 5A to 4A, Clearfield (14-10, 9-5 Region 6) emerged from a battle with Woods Cross and Cyprus to claim region's second seed.
"It's much better than last year," sophomore infielder Baylee Patterson said. "We won one game and that was in preseason."
Patterson, who it batting .424 with four homers and 24 runs batted in, credits the Falcons' newfound pitching with the team's success.
Bailey Douglas has made a large difference on the mound, but the freshman is also the team's leading hitter at .485. Douglas' catcher, Lexi Anderson, also a freshman, has driven in 30 runs while hitting .472.
"Our girls are hitting the ball," said Tindall, whose Falcons have scored 15 or more runs in a game six times.
In fact, the three freshmen and one sophomore are four of the top five Clearfield hitters.
The fifth, senior Phoenix Sparrow, hit a pair of two-run home runs Friday in a 9-8 loss to region leader Bountiful. Sparrow has also knocked in 30 runs.
Clearfield has yet to beat Bountiful in three tries this season, losing by a total of four runs. Friday, the Falcons had cut a 9-3 deficit to 9-8 and had the bases loaded with two out and Patterson at the plate.
"I wouldn't have asked for anyone else up at bat," said Tindall moments after a teary-eyed Patterson popped out. "She's probably our most athletic player. She's selfless and just wants to play the game."
At the time, it may have been difficult for Patterson, who opened the scoring with a solo homer, to appreciate her coach's words.
"She's actually a laid-back type of kid," said Patterson's grandfather Odell Kirk, lugging a large-lensed camera. "But put her between the chalk lines and she's a different person."
"Sometimes our coaches get on us," she said. "It made us realize we needed to get back into this game."
Tindall, who played softball for Utah State, began the large job of creating a new, winning attitude last year, one that saw Clearfield go 1-16, a year after a winless 0-15 season. In fact, the last winning season for Clearfield softball came in 2001.
"Last year, we focused a lot on being confident," Tindall said. "Douglas brought a lot of confidence. She plays for a summer team that expects to win. The other girls saw that and said, 'Oh, we can win, too.'
"By midseason I could see it in their eyes, 'I'm going to get ticked if we lose.' "
The foundation is now set for victory beyond 2012.
"Yes," Patterson said.
Year Region Overall
2012 9-5 10-9
2011 0-16 1-16
2010 0-15 0-15
2009 0-13 0-14
2008 0-14 3-17