The calendar has flipped to March and the days are slowly getting warmer, which means softball season is just around the corner.

The 2022 high school softball season officially gets underway on March 7, and the season begins with the usual suspects sitting atop the Deseret News preseason coaches rankings.

All five defending champs from a year ago will open the season ranked first in their respective classification: Riverton, Spanish Fork, Bear River, Grantsville and Enterprise.

Riverton is loaded with returning starters after winning the state title a year ago with a 24-1 record. The top four teams in 6A are all in Region 3 which should make for an exciting spring season. That includes Mountain Ridge, which is bumping up to 6A a year after finishing as 5A runner-up.

Spanish Fork dominated 5A a year ago and returns Deseret News 5A Player of the Year Avery Sapp, who posted an 18-1 record on the mound a year ago and pitched every game in the state tourney.

Tooele is making the jump to 5A this season which will add more quality teams to the top of 5A.

Traditional power Bear River is the early team to beat in 4A, which took a hit with realignment as Tooele, Stansbury and Uintah bumped up a classification and then Canyon View bumped down a classification.

It will be interesting to see what 4A teams emerge this year as the biggest threat to Bear River, which has won two of the past three 4A titles.

High school baseball: 4 of 5 defending state champs open season No. 1 in 2022 preseason coaches rankings

Grantville opens the year ranked first in 3A despite graduating every player who was voted all-state first or second team last year. The program has won four straight state titles for a reason though, with the depth to plug in and likely keep on its winning ways.

“Grantsville will be a young team this year after graduating nine seniors off of last year’s state championship team. A strong junior class with a lot of varsity experience and a fabulous coaching staff will keep us competitive. If a few newcomers step up, it could be another special season,” said Grantsville coach Tony Cloward.

Canyon View joins 3A which adds another strong program to the mix of contenders who will challenge Grantsville.

In 2A, Enterprise only graduated one player from last year’s title team which makes it the obvious front-runner heading into the 2022 season.

“We have a tough schedule this year, playing teams from Region 10 and a couple good 6A teams. Our pitchers will need to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate and keep hitters off balance. If we can get are hits strung together and play good defense we should have a good shot at the championship game,” said Enterprise coach Katye Jones.

Deseret News preseason rankings

Class 6A

Team (2021 record)

  1. Riverton (24-1).
  2. Bingham (25-4).
  3. Herriman (23-6).
  4. Mountain Ridge (25-5).
  5. Skyridge (17-10).

Class 5A

Team (2021 record)

  1. Spanish Fork (31-1).
  2. Bountiful (20-8).
  3. Springville (21-9).
  4. Wasatch (20-9).
  5. Tooele (28-5).

Class 4A

Team (2021 record)

  1. Bear River (28-6).
  2. Crimson Cliffs (24-7).
  3. Ridgeline (22-8).
  4. Snow Canyon (27-7).
  5. Sky View (14-12).
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Class 3A

Team (2021 record)

  1. Grantsville (19-6).
  2. Manti (28-4).
  3. Canyon View (24-7).
  4. Carbon (20-5).
  5. South Summit (23-4).

Class 2A

Team (2021 record)

  1. Enterprise (20-8).
  2. Duchesne (20-9).
  3. Gunnison Valley (18-10).
  4. Beaver (17-9).
  5. Millard (11-14).
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