Rock Canyon's bats produced hits while Heritage played well but struggled getting on base Sept. 20 as the Jaguars won the Continental League softball game, 13-3.
The game boosted Rock Canyon's record to 9-3 overall and 4-0 in league. The loss means the young Heritage team record was 5-7 overall and 1-2 in league.
“I am proud of our team and the leadership our seniors have provided to get us to this point in the league,” Rock Canyon coach Debby Kortbawi said after the game. “All league games are important, and this one has added importance to our team as we get ready to face the two other unbeaten league teams next week.”
Heritage coach Pablo Severtson said his team is very young and some of his players get intimidated when facing a strong team like Rock Canyon.
“Today definitely is not how we have been playing lately. But these things happen with a young team. We only have two seniors on the roster and we are starting four freshmen and two sophomores so, at times, our inexperience shows,” Severtson said. “We did some good things today but we also made a lot of mistakes. We'll keep battling because we're still in the hunt, so we will try to keep getting better and reach our goal of getting into the playoffs.”
Rock Canyon next will face back-to-back challenges, as the Jaguars are home against the other two undefeated league teams.
The Jaguars were to be at home Sept. 26 against Douglas County, which will come in with an 11-0 record and 3-0 in league. Then, on Sept. 28, Rock Canyon is at home against Legend, which is 10-3 overall and 4-0 in league.
Both games will be played at the softball field at Rock Canyon High School, with the first pitch scheduled each day at 4:30 p.m.
Heritage also will continue its pursuit of a playoff berth. The schedule called for a Sept. 25 home game against undefeated Douglas County, and then the Eagles will play Regis Sept. 27, a team with a 1-3 league record.
On Sept. 20, the visiting Rock Canyon team scored twice in the first inning and got a solo home run from freshman Sloane Stewartson, and pushed a second run across in the second inning to take the lead for good. Stewartson also drove in two more runs with a double later in the game.
The Jaguars threatened again with two on and no outs in the third, but the rally was defused when Eagles senior shortstop Stefanie Peck executed an unassisted double play.
“The unassisted double play just shaped up in front of me when the girl on second didn't break toward third,” Peck said after the game. “I just scooped up the ground ball and touched both runners.”
This is the senior's fourth year playing softball, but she played baseball from the time she was about 5 until she started high school.
“I have always been a shortstop,” she said. “It is a position I like because I get to make a lot of plays there. I enjoy being in the field. But I like hitting too, because that is also fun.”
During the game, the Jaguars pounded out 10 hits to score 13 runs. Starting senior pitcher Lauren Page threw strikes for four innings and left leading 5-0. She also collected a hit but didn't add to her league-leading seven home runs.
Rock Canyon scored at least one run in each inning to win the game in six innings, 13-3. Heritage got on the scoreboard with a run in the third inning, added a run in the fourth on an RBI double by Peck, and had a solo run in the fifth inning.
After the game, the Jaguars coach said one of her senior leaders is catcher Brooklyn Travis.
“I have been playing softball about eight years. Most of the time I played third base or first base until they asked me to catch,” she said after the game. “When I got behind the plate, I found I liked it and that is where I stayed. It was hard to learn to catch, and I think the hardest thing for me is being able to move quickly to block a ball in the dirt. I have had people tell me being left-handed is a problem for catchers, but I haven't found it to make any difference.”
Travis she now likes catching best because it means she is involved in every play and is a team leader.