The final score of Thursday’s softball game at Skyridge was an 11-5 victory for Westlake over the Falcons but the real winners were every player and coach who got to spend the last few days on the dirt, competing with their friends.
For the last four days, five softball teams from Region 4 high schools were able to get in a few friendly games as a conclusion to the canceled 2020 season, which wasn’t able to be played due to restriction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been so nice to end the year wearing our jerseys and being out on the field,” Skyridge head coach Riley White said. “The Zoom and Google meetings we had just didn’t feel like a real ending.”
Because of the efforts of those who made the week of games happen, the Falcons were able to have a Senior Day and recognize the six seniors who have been a part of the program since the school opened.
“It’s tough,” White said, struggling with his own emotions. “These girls have been with us since Day 1 and have put so much into this program. They made this field something to be proud of. They have played every single day of softball for Skyridge and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Lexi Atcitty is one of those Falcon seniors and she said this experience was awesome, even if the score in the final game didn’t end up being in favor of Skyridge.
“We are like sisters now and to have these games before we have to say goodbye is really special,” Atcitty said. “The emotions are so strong because we love each other so much. It’s so great to be here together one more time.”
She said the six Skyridge seniors are proud of what they did to establish the Falcon softball program.
“We were the starting six from the beginning,” Atcitty said. “Being able to be together for all four years was the best part.”
Westlake only has one senior, Halle Carpenter, and the Thunder were able to send her off with a win in her final game.
But Westlake head coach Chad Carpenter also sees this week of games as a huge boon for the future of his program.
“We’re trying to develop mental toughness and it’s coming in leaps and bounds,” Chad Carpenter said. “For a team this young to win a game like this says something. That is a very good team with a lot of good players. We always tell them that we need to make the routine plays and put the ball in play and we did that.”
All 11 runs that the Thunder scored came with two outs, showing that Westlake’s underclassmen are building confidence in their ability to come through in any situation.
Chad Carpenter said he hopes his team takes these lessons and continues to improve through the summer.
“We want to be a program like Spanish Fork or Herriman, with girls who play competitively and come in ready to play,” Chad Carpenter said. “This week was important because we were able to build trust in each other. Young teams need that experience, so I was very happy with what we were able to do.”