Championship week brought strong emotions for Spanish Fork softball and Maple Mountain baseball coaches
Spanish Fork head coach Natalie Jarvis gets doused with water after the 13-2 Don win over Mountain Ridge in five innings in Game 2 of the 5A Championship series at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex on Friday, May 28, 2021.
Maple Mountain head coach Gary Miner (front right) gets emotional during the final day of the 5A Championship Series at Cate Field in West Jordan on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Spanish Fork head coach Natalie Jarvis applauds a good play during the 13-2 Don win over Mountain Ridge in five innings in Game 2 of the 5A Championship series at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex on Friday, May 28, 2021.
Maple Mountain head coach Gary Miner walks to the third-base coaches box during the final day of the 5A Championship Series at Cate Field in West Jordan on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Two high school coaches, both alike in dedication and experience, led their respective teams to the final day of action last week.
One emerged victorious, the other had to settle for being second.
Both, however, had special reasons for the moment to be one they always remember.
Spanish Fork head softball coach Natalie Jarvis has coached for 24 years but 2021 was her first full season at the helm (since the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dons had an amazing year, losing only once in the regular season. But Jarvis had been an assistant coach on many Spanish Fork teams that ended up short of their state-title goals.
This year, the Dons had the mixed blessing of playing at home at the Spanish Fork Sports Complex. While that made for familiar confines and plenty of home fans, Jarvis noted that her team didn’t get to have the dance-offs and bonding time on the bus ride to the tournament as they had in previous years.
In the end, however, it didn’t matter as Spanish Fork routed Mountain Ridge in two straight games in the championship series to give the Dons their eighth title.
It was the first, however, for Jarvis.
“These girls were mine,” Jarvis said after winning the crown on May 28. “It was all mine for a change and it was fun to be in command of it all. To be the leader of it was fun. It was just a fun season. It was hard to start with but really fun to end with. To do it with my assistant coaches here was priceless.”
The topper for Jarvis was where the final games were played.
In 2017, the community named one of the fields at the Spanish Fork Sports Complex after Jarvis — the very field the 5A title series was played on.
That mean Jarvis got to see her first team win a championship on Natalie Jarvis Field, which resulted in strong emotions for the Don head coach.
“It was a dream come true,” Jarvis said with a huge grin.
While Jarvis’s emotions were clearly the result of joy, things were a little more mixed for Maple Mountain head baseball coach Gary Miner.
He announced earlier this year that he would be retiring at the end of the season, making last week’s state tournament his final one after 12 years leading the Golden Eagles.
Maple Mountain turned in a magnificent performance, making it through some intense games to match up against crosstown rival Spanish Fork in the 5A baseball championship series.
The Golden Eagles rallied after losing Game 1 on May 28 to win Game 2 on May 29, forcing a winner-take-all Game 3 as the second game of a double-header.
That meant Miner got to watch his team participate in the last innings of the 2021 season, extending his final moment as the Maple Mountain head coach to the very end.
Since the Golden Eagles ended up losing, he had to deal with the emotion of disappointment in being so close but coming up short. That mixed with the emotions of seeing that chapter of his life come to a close.
“Confucius said experience makes even fools wise,” Miner said. “You just take all those experiences and you just move forward and hope I can be better moving forward. I hope I can contribute in a positive way in another avenue. You don’t ever want to be content.”
Miner chose to look to forward to the future more then to the past as he considered this milestone in his life.
“I’m not content,” Miner said. “I’m not going to sit down and say, ‘Well, look at what I’ve accomplished.’ You need to take the experiences and move forward and become better at the next set of opportunities. That’s that’s the way I’m looking at it. This has been wonderful and I’ve loved it. I’ve loved it but life is full of choices and we’ve got to live with the choices we make. You just try and be better next day. That’s all I can ask.”