Few players can claim to have had a greater impact on their teams this year.
The Bountiful softball team is off to its best start ever under coach Butch Latey, and pitcher Belle Stoddard has to be a candidate for Class 4A MVP. After all, Stoddard has thrown every single pitch for the 13-1 Braves so far this season.
"We knew we had a good team," Latey said. "We just didn't know how it would all mold together. It's been a team effort. … It's been kind of one [player] picking up another every other game. But Belle seems to be right in the middle of it."
The senior, who relies heavily on an off-speed arsenal that features a dangerous curveball to induce groundouts, has the Braves rolling in Region 6. And Latey, who says his strategy this season has been to play every game as if it were win or go home, has been content to ride Stoddard's arm.
"We've always had two [pitchers]," the coach said. "This year, we've just been getting ready for the state tournament. … We've just been playing everything like it's the state tournament."
Last week, despite dealing with the flu, Stoddard earned wins on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"After two games, you could be a little sore and your ball doesn't move as good," Latey said. "Thursday probably should have been a change [in pitchers]."
Stoddard wasn't at her best against Clearfield, in her third outing of the week. But the Snow College-bound ace gutted it out. She even helped her own cause at the plate en route to a 11-9 victory her 13th of the year.
Latey said he has a pair of freshman pitchers he's been waiting to work into the rotation. He's just been waiting for the right time, as he did with Stoddard during her freshman campaign.
With a rivalry game against Woods Cross awaiting Tuesday, however, expect to see Stoddard back in the middle of the diamond, in the middle of it all, for the Braves.
Provo's victory over rival Timpview this week gave Bulldog baseball coach Lance Moore the 200th win of his career.
"It seems like a long time, looking back," said Moore, who took over as head coach in 2000. "We won't count the losses. Let's just talk about the 200 wins."
Moore said the victory was made sweeter by beating a rival in a close game and being able to share the moment with his son, who is on the Provo team. But there wasn't much celebration for the milestone.
"I had these grand visions of shooting non-alcoholic champagne all over the place," Moore joked, "but it was about 30 degrees."
Two tips of the hat
Wasatch Academy's Emrem Tanriover kicked his way into the soccer state record books last week. His seven goals in a 9-1 win over Richfield were the second most in a Utah high school game ever. Springville's John Bailey scored eight against Spanish Fork in 1990.