After losing just five games all of last season, nervousness may have crept into the heart of Bruin Nation after the Salt Lake Community College softball squad lost four of its first six games last weekend. Despite the struggles, coach MaryKay Amicone insists there’s no need to hit the panic button.
“The four losses were all close losses to top programs, so I’m not worried about that,” Amicone said. On the contrary, she remarked, “I’m really excited because honestly with the way we played…all things considered we were one out away from wins in three of those four games.”
In a season that Amicone calls a “reloading” one, she says that it may take some time for the players to develop the chemistry needed to return to the days of dominance. “We need experience with pitching, and with basically a new infield, and that’s gonna come,” she said. “It’s gonna take us the first round of conference play before we really know who we are.”
If the Lady Bruins play last weekend at the Great Western Shootout in Arizona is any indication, they may have things all figured out even before SWAC action begins. Playing three games on Friday versus the “directional” Arizona schools, SLCC’s confidence surely shot straight north as they knocked off Central Arizona, Eastern Arizona and Western Arizona. Going nuts at the plate, the Lady Bruins were able to make things comfortable for the pitching staff. Madi White belted a three-run dinger in the first game, and Ariel Zimmerman had a great day on the mound, giving up just one run as SLCC cruised to a 9-1 win.
The middle game was won in a different fashion as SLCC found themselves down 3-2 in the sixth inning. Starlee Hutchings erased the deficit with a solo shot, the beginning of what would be a six-run frame, as SLCC won 8-3. Dezlee Roberts got the win, Zimmerman the save.
In the third game of Friday, Kylee Colvin picked up the victory and Zimmerman got another save, recording five of her seven outs via strikeout. Krystin Jachim got into the “touch ’em all” party, hitting a 3-run jack.
As well as Salt Lake played on Friday, Saturday brought even better fortunes as the Bruin bats got torching hot. Hitting five home runs on the day, SLCC crossed the plate an incredible 40 times over three contests, finishing play in the Great Western Shootout with three more victories. Outscoring their opponents by a combined 37 runs, Salt Lake shut out El Paso Community College 15-0, knocked off Golden West Community College 9-1 and put the cherry on top of the weekend with a 16-2 trouncing of Phoenix College. After the six victories, the Bruins moved their record to 8-4 on the season. Conference play begins this week with games in St. George, Utah against North Idaho and Western Nevada.
Moving indoors, Bruin basketball hit the road on Saturday as they traveled to Ephraim, Utah to face Snow College. The Lady Bruins continued their solid play, knocking off the Badgers 55-50. Despite just 28 points from Haley Holmstead, Jami Mokofisi and Alli Blake combined, Salt Lake was able to hold off Snow by out-rebounding the Badgers 43-25. Mokofisi and Katie Walker went 6-6 from the foul line down the stretch to seal it.
The charity stripe also proved to be important for the men, especially in the second half as they converted 95 percent of their attempts en route to a 71-61 victory. Alfonso Hubbard led with 29 points, and Patrick McCollum chipped in 16. The wins come as Salt Lake faces “The Idaho Showdown” next weekend in crucial SWAC action.
Bruins at Home:
Friday, Feb. 11: Men’s and Women’s Basketball vs. North Idaho. Bruin Arena, Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The women tip-off at 5:30 p.m., the men at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 12: Men’s and Women’s Basketball vs. College of Southern Idaho. Bruin Arena, Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The women tip-off at 3:00 p.m, the men at 5:00 p.m.