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Layton coach lauds his team’s talent

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At one of their preseason tournaments, Layton coach Kevin Jensen asked several players if they could throw underhanded.

"We had two girls who'd never thrown before pitching our JV game," he laughed. "We're definitely looking pretty good, but we're not deep at pitcher."

He feels pretty lucky to take over the program in which he's been an assistant for years with the athletes he has.

"We have such great athletes," said Jensen, whose daughter Jasey Jensen, shortstop, has committed to Salt Lake Community College. "Sheila had pitched a little in summer ball, but she's just done a marvelous job."

Adams, also a star basketball player, took over the team's pitching duties and thus far has just a single loss. She has the advantage of being in great shape as she moved directly from running the Lancer offense on the basketball court to leading their defense on the softball field.

"I'm just so happy to have Sheila," Jensen said. "She'll be there."

Adams has thrown well in region play thus far with wins over Davis, Viewmont and Clearfield. In addition to Jensen and Adams, the Lancers have a host of talented players, including Jenny Jesperson, Lyndi Prestgard, Danielle Swopes, Ingunn Sorensen, and Trevon Lee.

Jensen said taking of the Lancer program has been an education.

"I have learned to appreciate head coaches," he said with a grin. "There is so much business administration involved, so many forms ... I just like to get out on the field and coach."

Layton was voted No. 3 in preseason polls, but the Lancers are off to a 3-0 start before Tuesday's meeting between Fremont and Layton.

Viewmont was voted No. 1 in preseason polls, and No. 2 in statewide rankings. And while the Vikings were off to a pretty good start overall, they stumbled in region play with a 0-3 record thus far.

"We know they can beat the teams that they lost to," said coach Tiffany Randall. "They're all working very hard to try and play better."

The team lost Meredith Rodebush to a sprained ankle, but she returns to the lineup this week.

"We're a young team," said Randall. Part of the reason other coaches had such high hopes for the Vikings was Shasta Tyteca, a senior pitcher. Her sister, sophomore Shelbi Tyteca catches for the team and is one of the squad's best hitters. Viewmont has three seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshman.

"We've just made some errors," Randall said. In addition to the Tytecas, Viewmont has a lot of talent in Kalli Randall, who is Tiffany's younger sister, Brook Olsen, Cina Cummings, a freshman, and Lexi and Brittney Wayman.

Fremont was voted No. 3 and started by winning games against Northridge and Weber. The Silverwolves return four starters, including first baseman Toni Schumers and shortstop Haylee Hoch, who has already hit six home runs this season. Junior Mechel Hunt is hitting over .400 with five home runs as well.

"We've been very fortunate so far," said coach Jim Fuller of the program's strong athletes. "Both Mechel and Haylee hit the ball so hard. I'm scared when I pitch to those two."

Fuller said the Silverwolves are solid at offense again, and part of the reason is their specialization in different types of hitting. Fuller said he's attended clinics and even sought advice from a couple of successful hitting coaches in his years as a head coach at Box Elder and now at Fremont.

"When kids do it right," he said of the slap and bunt technique," you can't tell if they're going to slap or bunt ... It's making a big difference this year."

One of the reasons, he said, is this year's team is so athletic.

"They're phenomenally athletic," he said. "I have a fast, athletic, wonderful outfield. These girls have good arms and gloves, but they also have speed. ... They're just a joy to watch."

Clearfield, voted No. 4, opened region play 1-2 behind the solid play of athletes like Mel Meyer and Camille Brimhall.

Weber was voted No. 5, but earned a good win over Viewmont behind the hitting of Nikki Stuart and pitcher Reilee O'Brien.

Northridge will surprise a lot of teams this year as they've already upset Clearfield and will no doubt only get stronger. They have solid players like Annie Fleshman and Chelsie Olsen to help the Knights compete in Region 1.

Davis is also a team that could surprise this season with pitcher Maren Nielsen and talented hitters like Becky Simonsen and McKenzie Garrett.

Region 1

1. Viewmont

2. Fremont

3. Layton

4. Clearfield

5. Weber

6. Davis

7. Northridge

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com