Southern Utah’s Spring Softball season begins this weekend. The team enters 2019 with hopes for the future after a disappointing 2018 campaign.
Kortny Hall was promoted to be the team’s head coach last summer. She will hope to lead the T-Birds to a the first step in their rebuilding process for the future.
Last season the squad finished 9-38 overall, their lowest ever win total. It was time for a change around the softball program. Hall has the right attitude and passion to take steps forward within the program.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead the Thunderbird softball program,” Hall said upon being hired. “Ever since I played at Southern Utah University, it has always had a special place in my heart. I am so excited to be back here at SUU and create a winning atmosphere that our players can take pride in.”
Hall will be tasked with molding some of the raw talent the program has to offer into confident players. SUU returns two All-Big Sky players, but will be tasked with replacing their star player, Sarah Murphy.
Kalei Watkins won Big Sky Freshman of the Year Award for her outstanding 2018 season. Watkins batted .360, hit nine home runs and knocked in 30 RBIs last season. The pitcher/infielder will be the cornerstone of the team’s success this season.
Returning senior Kendall Kapitzke will also be heavily relied upon in replacing Murphy. Kapitzke finished with a .323 batting average last season.
Madison Tuft and Javlyn Weaver will both return to the team after solid 2018 performances.
From there, the team is pretty wide open. JUCO transfer Mikelle Magalogo and incoming freshmen Nicole Wall and Makall Whetten will be expected to contribute immediately. Wall and Whetten were both two-year All-State athletes at their high schools.
The team will be hoping to improve from their 2018 season, but likely won’t be challenging for the Big Sky crown this season. Step one in the process is developing talent and establishing a fundamental principles for the future. The team probably won’t win now, and that’s okay.
The Thunderbirds finished last in the Big Sky and just lost their two best players in Murphy and Taylei Williams, who transferred to BYU. Incremental improvement this season would be the right step in establishing a foundation for winning in the future.
The season begins on Friday at the UNLV Marrucci Desert Classic tournament where the T-Birds will take on Seton Hall.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo courtesy of SUU Athletics Strategic Communication