Frank Heath at First

Emmett’s Frank Heath goes high to pull down a relay throw for the out at first in softball action last week.

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The gap between the 2019 season and the 2021 season makes this year’s softball team somewhat of an unknown for Emmett coach Shawn Marquez.

“There hasn’t been a lot of competition to see where we were coming into the season,” Marquez remarked. “We don’t have a lot of girls who play year round – few club team players. That means its up to what they do in the short pre-season and as the season progresses that will determine how successful the season can be.”

Marquez knows his team is young – freshman and sophomores are the majority on the varsity nine. But he also knows there is talent there and even some real offensive punch.

In back to back games last week the Huskies put together late in game offensive explosions to nearly pull off two huge comebacks. A ten-run sixth pulled Emmett back for a 16-10 win over Weiser and nine runs over the final two innings came up just short in a 16-14 loss to Homedale.

An eight-run first inning cost Emmett on the road on Wednesday in an 11-0 loss at Vallivue but the Huskies evened their SIC record at 1-1 with a 4-3 win over Nampa on Friday.

“We gave up a bunch of walks early to Vallivue,” Marquez said. “Once we settled down we pitched well the rest of the way – just couldn’t crack their top pitcher for runs.”

Senior Kylie Yanzuk anchors the few veterans on the team. She has gone deep a couple of times this season and also spends time in the pitching circle where she was the Huskies primary hurler two seasons ago. This year she has lots of help.

Sophomore Karadyn Fuller and freshman Kayla Vahlberg are handling a lot of the pitching duties this year.

Camille Bailey has returned to the diamond from a major knee injury two years ago and the senior provides pop at the plate – more likely than not to hit for extra bases each time she steps into the batter’s box.

Freshman Harper Goodwin, who catches for the team, also has shown the ability for the long ball. As has catcher and infielder Raegyn Dupree – also a freshman along with Rylee Rountree. Five of the starting nine or freshmen or sophomores.

First baseman Frank Heath is the sole junior on the team. Depth and utility play is provided by seniors Maxi Moulton, Makenzie Saenz, Isabella Atwood and Jordan Adkins.

And if that young depth isn’t encouraging enough, the JV team is also off to a ripping start to the season with strong bats and powerful pitching in the early going.

Marquez is happy with the power and the young depth at pitching but he is perhaps happiest about the potential of this young team to become a strong defensive team fielding the ball.

“That’s probably the most overlooked aspect of the quality teams in our league,” Marquez said. “They play together and the don’t make mistakes. If you can play error free softball you always have a shot.”

Bishop Kelly, Middleton and Vallivue are the traditional powers in the league and appear to be there again this season. Marquez feels that by the end of the year, however, there could be some disruption in the traditional order of the SIC and some surprises in a very competitive district tournament.

The Huskies, 3-2 on the year, will be playing four games this weekend in a Spring Break tournament at Ridgevue and Meridian High Schools. They return to conference play on March 31 when they host Caldwell before three straight league road encounters.

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