Prep softball: Spanish Fork’s Cambrie Hazel’s dominance earns her Tribune MVP honors

First Published      Last Updated Jun 14 2017 06:45 pm

Prep softball » Hazel pitched Spanish Fork to its third consecutive state title.

Go back to the most recent turn of the century, and one softball pitcher was assaulting the Utah high school record book, setting marks in several categories.

Makala and Brandon Hazel in Spanish Fork were bringing twin babies into the world right around the same time.

The Hazels decided to go with more traditional spellings — starting with a C in each case — for their twin babies, Cambrie and Colby. The K's would come later.

And the W's. And the state championships.

Cambrie Hazel completed one of the most dominant stretches for any state prep softball pitcher when she pitched Spanish Fork to the Class 4A title in May and earned the honor as The Tribune Most Valuable Player. That was actually the third straight crown for the Dons, and Hazel was the pitcher of record for all three.

Hazel recorded 671 career strikeouts and supplanted Alta standout Nikki Anderson (1998 to 2001) as the all-time state leader in wins (74) and shutouts (38).

"That's pretty cool, but it hasn't really hit me yet," Hazel said upon finding out after the state tourney. Spanish Fork coach Don Andrews "told me I was close right before state, but he never really told me I had it."

"My teammates helped me win those 74 games. It wasn't all me. It was all of us."

Spanish Fork had the ability to make good pitchers look average as the Dons scored at least 10 runs in 24 games. And that was plenty for Hazel.

Hazel posted a 1.25 ERA while fanning 221 batters and compiling a 24-0 record.

And shutouts? Part of the new Utah record-holder's résumé for 2017 was a dozen scoreless outings.

"From the midseason on, she was untouchable for us," Andrews said.

And Hazel's farewell senior season also included a very productive campaign with the bat.

She primarily was confined to the pitching circle in past seasons. But Hazel responded with a .438 average and six home runs when given the opportunity to get into the batter's box.

In fact, the only blemish of the year ironically was on championship day. Although Hazel didn't take the loss, Uintah chased the Spanish Fork ace from the circle as the Utes walloped five homers to force a second game in the 4A double-elimination state tournament. In that second contest, Spanish Fork — with Hazel pitching again — closed out Uintah with a 17-5 victory.

"It was a hard game. They just came to play," said Hazel, understated as always.

Philosophical is the way the Spanish Fork coach characterized Hazel's demeanor during the rare outing when she struggled.

"She said to me, 'They're hitting everything I throw; you better take me out,' " said Andrews, who actually blamed himself for continually calling for Hazel to throw curves, which were ineffective on that day. It happens about once a year with her curve. After I quit calling it, she settled down."

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Past Tribune softball MVPs

2017 » Cambrie Hazel, Spanish Fork

2016 » Taylei Williams, Juab

2015 » Sydney White, Lehi

2014 » Kirtlyn Bohling, Salem Hills