Hot Shotz score national championship
Nov 03, 2017 12:02PM ● Published by City Journals Staff
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The Wasatch Front is Home to a 10 and under girls softball champion. The Utah Hot Shotz won the USA Western National Championship on Aug. 4.
The team was formed in the summer of 2016 when seven girls failed to make their recreational league all-star team. The Hot Shotz were formed and the building of a champion team began.
“The players going from city league noncompetitive to a championship is something I have never seen. The girls practiced really hard and put in extra time. We played against older and better teams all year and that prepared us,” head coach Kevin Jackson said.
Ivy Chadd, from West Jordan and Star Gonzales and Kinsley Lawrence of West Valley pitched in crucial pool play and bracket games during the tournament.
“None of our pitchers had much accelerated experience. We had a couple who had pitched at West Valley Bonnet Ball but that was about it. They practiced four days a week. We used them all differently depending on the team we were facing,” Jackson said.
Chadd throws the hardest pitch according to Jackson, yet both Lawrence and Gonzales have good control and drop balls (type of softball pitch.)
The heat in August made it difficult for the team, but they outscored their opponents 63-13.
“We had to rotate because it was so hot, but we rested the girls and made sure that they were easy when we needed them,” Jackson said.
The team is made up of girls from Saratoga Springs, West Jordan, South Jordan and West Valley.
They qualified for the state tournament by winning a USA sanctioned tournament in April in St. George. They won five games in a row for the tournament victory and defeated The Heat in the championship game 5-0.
They then won the USA state tournament in July. The national tournament was hosted in Kaysville, Utah this season.
“I think it was a huge home field advantage for us to play in Kaysville. We stayed at home in our own beds and saved the cost of travel. There were teams from Montana, Washington and Nevada that came. That was a contributing factor for our win,” Jackson said.
The Hot Shotz played 175 games this summer. They posted a 73-45 record in qualifying state or national tournaments. In those games they averaged eight runs per game.
Catcher Addie Winn from Magna is the youngest on the team.
“She is a year younger and, dang it, she is very good. High school pitchers have hired her to catch for them at lessons and camps. She is just a nine year old catching some bigger strong high school pitchers,” Jackson said.
Infielders Dezzie Reeves, Savanna Hill, Quincy Cunningham and Hailie Reeves played exceptional defense and recorded critical outs all season long.
“During the year we kept challenging our players to believe they were good. We wanted them to believe they could win and play as champions despite any adversity,” Jackson said.
The team earned an automatic birth to the 12 and under national championship in Georgia in 2018.
Jackson estimates it costs approximately $1,500 per girl for the team this season. That does not include travel costs or personal equipment.