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West Jordan Journal

With new coach, Copper Hills softball looking to be competitive

Apr 12, 2024 02:50PM ● By Josh McFadden

The Copper Hills softball team has a new head coach, William Yazzie. The Grizzlies started the year 5-4 and play in one of the toughest regions in the state. (Photo courtesy of William Yazzie.)

Transitioning to a new coaching staff can be challenging for any team. The Copper Hills softball team has done well so far. 

The Grizzlies welcomed William Yazzie to the program. He is grateful for the welcome he has received and for the effort the girls have given so far this season. 

“With a new head coach and all-new coaching staff, the team has responded well to the new program and has competed in tough games early in the season,” Yazzie said. “They are able to make adjustments quickly and will get better as the season progresses.”

Copper Hills started off 5-4 through the first nine games and dropped its first two Region 2 contests. The Grizzlies have been on both ends of lopsided games, though their losses have been to excellent teams. Copper Hills also crushed Page, Arizona, 13-3 and blew out Granger 15-0 and 18-3 two days apart. In between those wins was a 19-1 crushing of Brighton on March 9. Those three victories took place at the March Warm-up Elite tournament. Copper Hills took down American Fork 12-2 on March 22. 

In the early going, Yazzie has been impressed with the girls’ attitudes and work ethic. 

“Our team has a willingness to compete, they are coachable, and they have showed resilience early in the season,” he said. “They play as a team and want to work hard.”

As a first-year coach, Yazzie wants the team to play hard and develop the program. Reaching the playoffs will be nice, but Yazzie is looking for the Grizzlies to be a factor in the race for the title.

“Our team’s expectations are to grow and develop together, and we have set goals to compete in the Utah 6A state tournament,” he said. 

Copper Hills has a trio of four-year starters who lead the team. Shortstop Anslie Yazzie (who was a First-Team All-State player last year), outfielder Emery Bishop and infielder Jordyn Sheridan are great examples to the other girls with their play and how they conduct themselves off the field. 

“[Anslie Yazzie] has a great middle infield glove,” he said. “She’s a power hitter and experienced team leader She committed to play softball at the next level after high school at the College of Southern Idaho [Bishop] leads off with speed and is aggressive at the plate. She is the most improved player and will also play softball at the next level after high school. [Sheridan] is a power hitter. She’s a great utility player and has stepped up as a key contributor and makes an impact every game.”

For the season to be successful for the Grizzlies, Yazzie said the team needs to be consistent. He also said the players need to develop continuity and confidence in themselves and the team. Copper Hills is improving, but Yazzie acknowledges there are plenty of things to polish so the Grizzlies can pick up more wins as the season progresses. 

“Speed is essential in softball, and we are working to increase it in all phases of the game,” he said. “We also have young, talented girls who, with more game experience, will learn to increase their knowledge of the game as well.”

Yazzie and his players know nothing will come easy in region play. 

Region 2 has two of the top teams in Class 6A in Riverton and Herriman. Bingham, Mountain Ridge and Corner Canyon round out the opponents in the region, and they are no slouches. 

“Competing in arguably the toughest region in 6A means we have to be mentally and physically prepared each and every game,” Yazzie said. “However, we see it as an opportunity to get better and get us ready to make a run in the state tournament.”

Copper Hills faces each Region 2 opponent twice, with the final league game on April 30 at Corner Canyon. The Grizzlies finish the regular with three non-region opponents before the Class 6A state tournament begins May 16. 

Yazzie is grateful to be in the position of guiding the Copper Hills softball team. He’s looking forward to building the program and watching the girls grow. 

“I feel blessed for the opportunity to coach all these young student-athletes, especially my two daughters Anslie Yazzie and Averi Yazzie,” he said. “It is a great group of girls who want to succeed, work hard and get better every day. You can’t ask for much more as a first-year head coach.” λ