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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood softball earns its first win in almost two years

Apr 12, 2024 01:23PM ● By Brian Shaw

The 2023-24 Cottonwood softball team. (Photo courtesy Natalie Wonnacott)

It’s been a long time since the Cottonwood softball team has won a game. To be more specific, it’s been 720 days and one hour. 

“The girls were pretty excited and optimistic before the game,” said Cottonwood head softball coach Natalie Wonnacott. “We played Highland last year and lost in the seventh inning so we felt like we could get this one.” 

For Cottonwood [1-4], the game on March 18 started well. The Colts jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after junior Gretta Lewis retired the side. In a duel that was seesaw from the outset, Highland scored eight runs in the top of the second. 

The Colts would answer with five runs of their own to tie the game at 8-8 going into the top of the third inning. 

Lewis settled down, allowing just one run in the top of the inning. After three innings played, Cottonwood trailed by the score of 8-9. 

At that point, you could’ve forgiven the doubters for wondering if the Colts, who hadn’t won a game since March 28, 2022 [a 19-12 victory over rival Hillcrest], were going to pull this one out. 

But, with Lewis back in a groove, she again retired the side in the top of the fourth, handing the keys to the car to Cottonwood’s hitters. 

The Colts exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and Lewis held off the Highland bats just enough to capture a 15-14 victory. 

“We almost let them come back at the top of the seventh but we are working to get better each game,” Wonnacott said. “It feels good to get a win so the girls can see that they are improving, and we will continue to work hard and focus on the fundamentals each game.” 

For Lewis, it was her first win on the mound as a Colt in 18 tries. The junior allowed eight hits over six innings of work and struck out 12 Highland batters. 

For the Colts, they had a few players who contributed to the historic win that snapped a 36-game losing streak. 

Sophomores Tialer Mounts and Emmarique Gilbert each had three RBI for Cottonwood and Abigail Burton, another sophomore, knocked home two runners. Senior James Wilking and Samanntha Rodriguez each drove in a run as well for the Colts, who turned around the next day and lost 1-11 at Jordan on March 19. In that game, Mounts slapped an RBI triple for Cottonwood. 

The Colts also lost 5-27 at Tooele on March 15 a few days prior to the victory, but the bats looked alive. Mounts hit a solo home run for the Colts and had an RBI double. Gilbert added two RBI and Rodriguez drove one base runner home. 

Prior to those games, the Colts lost 0-15 at Stansbury on March 12 that was called after three innings of play due to the 10-run UHSAA rule. 

And Cottonwood scored four runs in a 4-25 loss at Corner Canyon to open the season March 9. Sophomore Abigail Burton slapped in two runs for this Colts team that also got an RBI apiece from Wilking and senior Alanis Gutierrez. 

For coach Wonnacott, she knows there’s work to be done—but there are plenty of signs of progress. 

“After the game [the win over Highland] they were thrilled because it took a great team effort,” Wonnacott said. “We had lots of little things that went our way. We got some good strikeouts and had some hits and smart base running. We still have things that need to be cleaned up. It is a fun group of girls to coach, and I am optimistic we will see some more success.” 

The 2023-24 Cottonwood Colts softball team is: Sophia Arlene, Jane Wonnacott, Jocelyn Menese, Tialer Mounts, Juliet Lewis, Piper Wilking, Mele Solomone-Halaeua, Alanis Gutierrez, Maria Mavatez Gonzalez, Emmarique Gilbert, Allison Hexem, Gretta Lewis, Housna Saleh, Adriana Gonsalves, Samanntha Rodriguez, Lola Grover, James Wilking, Eimi Vatuvei, Gisel Oxlaj, Abigail Burton, Taylor Clark, Breeya Busey, Zoey Wonnacott, Anna Ata’ata, Penina Vatuvei, Vika Pauni and Amelia Vainuku. λ