Prep softball: Lyman helps spark Park City's turnaround
With runners on first and second, Carson Lyman dug her cleats into the dirt. She waited patiently for the 1-1 offering from the Altamont pitcher.
She quickly smacked the next fastball over the center-field wall.
As Lyman rounded the bases, she was pleased not just with the deep bomb but the fact that everyone did their job. The girls ahead of her got on base, and she was able to hit them clean.
"I want us to put up a fight into every game we play," the senior said. "We've been the team that rolls over and dies for too long. This year, all of that stops."
Lyman embraces the fight and is ready to take it to her Region 10 rivals. She wants to be the surprise team that plays its best every inning. It is a part of the new culture of softball in Park City a school known more for skiing and soccer than softball.
With Lyman's Miners on a tear with a preseason record of 5-2 entering the week, the goal is a playoff berth. After losing in the first round last year, Lyman believes the Miners have the talent to go far in the tournament.
"I want to prove that we are a contender this year," she said. "It won't be an easy season, but I am excited to showcase our team."
Coach Alissa Smith calls Lyman a workhorse, a natural athlete who begs Smith to hit extra buckets of balls to her after practice.
"She's on pace to break the home-run record at Park City, but it doesn't go to her head," Smith said. "She's the kind of kid any coach would say 'thank you' for."
Lyman is excited that Park City finally is finding its stride. The work that her teammates have put into the game during the offseason is having on-field success. Specifically, their hitting, once a sore subject at Park City, is becoming a point of pride.
"We're hitting over .400," Lyman said. "Everyone is getting after the ball and getting on base. We're not striking out too much. What more could you ask for?"
Cassidy Chester, a four-year starter, is in the circle for the Miners this season. The senior has committed to Dawson Community College next year and is taking her deceptive pitching with her. Smith said that good pitching takes time, and Chester has been working tirelessly with her father to develop a whirlybird of a fastball.
"Cassidy's strength is having a lot of movement," Smith said. "She won't overpower a lot of hitters, but she can trick anyone with the movement on her ball."
In the end, Smith hopes the improvement on the field carries over off the field.
"The work that they have done to improve their game can be translated into them becoming strong, confident women," she said.
Carson Lyman is a senior captain who plays shortstop.
Cassidy Chester plans to play at Dawson Community College next year.