A year after failing to qualify for the state softball playoffs for the first time since 2003, the Olympus Titans are determined to show that last year was just an aberration.
"We want to prove that last year was a fluke," said senior pitcher Ellie Hansen. "We opened the season with a talk about how we are better than we were last year and about how we have a lot of potential."
The Titans do have a lot of potential. Last year's team was filled with underclassmen with little softball experience. And while the team is still young there are only three seniors on its roster the team feels having a year in the system will help the young players perform to the best of their ability.
"Last year we had 10 girls with no experience, and so this year those girls have the benefit of working all summer to be ready," said senior catcher Paula Felice. "We feel we have a lot of experience and expect to be at state. We are getting there no matter what."
The path to state won't be easy for Olympus.
The Titans will have to face new region foes, including softball powers Murray and Skyline. Olympus coach Cynthia Bennett said her team isn't worried about facing new teams, but knows the Titans will need to focus on what they do best.
"We have to outhit other teams, and that has been our goal since the season began," said Bennett. "We are working harder to do that, and the team is focused on excellence."
The team has taken their coach's words to heart. The Titans spend an hour after practice working on hitting, and the senior captains run a Saturday practice focused solely on hitting. And the work appears to be paying off. Entering their region opener against Skyline on Thursday, the Titans have scored more than five runs in four games, including a 10-run outburst in a victory over Viewmont.
"We are working really hard and have more of a will to win this season," said senior infielder Nicole Rockwood, a Salt Lake Community College signee. "We try to go above and beyond what coach tells us to do, and I think that has given us an extra edge."
The Titans have won three of their first six games, and while that puts the team ahead of last year's nine-win pace, Bennett knows her team has to improve to be playing in the state tournament in May.
"We have improved in every single game we have played, and if we can improve at the rate we have been, the sky is the limit for this team," said Bennett.
21The number of total runs scored by the Hillcrest baseball team in the Huskies' first two games. It took Hillcrest five games to reach the same number last season.
Luke Myers, Skyline baseball • Myers struck out 12 batters and belted a triple, in Skyline's 12-1 victory over Northridge.
Copper Hills at Brighton • boys soccer, Friday, 3:30 p.m. Region play begins as Brighton takes on a good Copper Hills team.