Corner Canyon softball on top of region
May 02, 2019 01:43PM
● By Catherine Garrett
The Corner Canyon High softball team currently has an 8-4 overall record this season and is undefeated in Region 7. (Photo courtesy Chris Opheikens)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
Two All-State players returned for the Corner Canyon High softball team this season and, along with other key players, have been instrumental in the Chargers’ undefeated showing in Region 7 so far. First Team All-State third baseman Lexi Parker leads the team in batting with a .500 average and 31 RBIs and is one of the team’s aces on the mound with a 6-2 record. Senior Abbi Opheikens is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA as well while batting .467.
“Our pitching has been outstanding,” head coach Chris Opheikens said, also noting the contributions of catcher Whitney Opheikens in working hard with the pitchers. “Lexi and Abbi have stepped up their game.”
Junior Kaelyn Kearney, who is batting .435 with 16 RBIs, and Honorable Mention All-State shortstop Josee Haycock, who has scored 25 runs, are also tops offensively for Corner Canyon.
“Our hitting has been amazing. Kaelyn and Josee have shown great leadership on this team,” Coach Opheikens said.
Corner Canyon began the season with a 3-2 showing at the March Warm-Up Elite tournament in St. George, which included wins over Enterprise 10-3, Orem 5-0 and Juab 9-8. “We had some key wins against Enterprise and Juab, both of which are great programs,” he said. “Those wins gave us confidence as a team.”
Three of the team’s seniors felt that the St. George trip was an important bonding time to begin the year and set the tone for the squad’s success thus far.
“The team played so unified,” said Haycock, who will compete for Salt Lake Community College in the fall.
“We came out stronger than we ever have before at the start of our season,” said Parker, who will play for Western Nebraska next year. “The girls came ready to play. Double plays, diving catches and homeruns added a lot of excitement to our team that weekend.”
“We’ve grown so much from our trips to St. George as far as coming together and learning to play as a team,” said Abbi Opheikens, who signed with Lake Region State College in North Dakota.
The Chargers have won 8 of its next 12 games – outscoring opponents 103 to 45 over that stretch for an 11-6 record and a 6-1 showing so far to lead the region.
“Our season has been good so far. We have been competitive in all of our games,” Coach Opheikens said. “I believe we have started clicking as a team. With hard work and a good mindset I believe we can accomplish anything!”
Parker said she is excited about the team chemistry both offensively and defensively. “We have girls in new positions and they are doing a great job at picking each other up and helping out wherever they can,” she said.
Abbi Opheikens said the team’s successful record is a direct result of the team’s mentality and execution in various roles.
Corner Canyon is also scheduled to face Lehi, Jordan, Brighton, Cottonwood and Roy before the 5A state tournament begins May 14.
Also on the 2019 squad are Gabreilla Avelar, Lauren Dupree, McKenna Healy, Kaye Kakunes, Kaelyn Kearney, Abby Kleinman, Selma Kohler, Kathryn Miner, Maryn Murdock, Anna Nemelka, Samantha Opheikens, Whitney Opheikens, Olivia Sunderland, Rylee Taylor, Sydney Taylor and Erin Woods.
“I love this team and every girl on this team individually,” Haycock said. “Everyone brings something unique and I believe that is why we are all so close and get along so well. Everyone has each other’s back and I always know I can count on them to pick me back up when I need it.”
Parker said the team’s eyes are on the Region 7 title on its way to a deep run in the 5A state tournament. “We have the talent and attitudes to do so,” she said.
“We want to play our style of game and continue to play as a team, and we believe that if we keep playing like we are we have a great chance of contending for a state title,” Coach Opheikens said.