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South Valley Journal

Mustangs homer themselves to a region title

May 30, 2018 12:28PM ● By Greg James

Senior April Visser was named Herriman’s female athlete of the year. (Herriman softball)

By Greg James |  [email protected]

The offensive production at Herriman has outpaced all of its competition.

“We have been playing really well,” Herriman softball coach Heidi McKissick said. “Our offense is definitely our strength. We are just Herriman. We are skilled at hitting, and we keep hitting it far and long.” 

The Mustangs have scored 250 runs this season, the most in the Utah High School Activities Association 6A classification. They averaged 9.3 runs per game, hitting double figures 12 times this season. Riverton, the second-leading scoring team in Region 3, averaved 8.7 runs. 

“Seriously, we have a deep fence at Herriman, and to have two girls with this many home runs is crazy,” McKissick said.

Junior Libby Parkinson has hit three home runs in two seprate games this season. The first came March 13 in a 18-12 victory over Fremont. The second was May 3 in a 17-12 victory over Copper Hills. She has 16 home runs on the season.

Senior April Visser has also connected on 14 dingers for the Mustangs and was named Herriman’s female athlete of the year.

The regular season began with a trip to the Bull Head City Tournament in California to begin their season. They also celebrated its seniors moving on to college before the season began. Cassidy Adams will attend Dixie State; Krystal Kemp, Southern Virginia University; April Visser, Saint Francis University; Alexia Arredondo, University of Utah; and Lexi Slade, Utah State University. 

Parkinson and Kemp have contributed in the pitching circle for the Mustangs. Parkinson has pitched in 20 games this season and Kemp 14. Parkinson has struck out 86 opposing hitters in 81 innings.

“We need both of these girls; they definitely help us out,” McKissick said. “They both have different leadership skills. Libby throws a good rise ball, and Krystal gets ‘em with her changeup.” 

The Mustangs work off the field is just as important to them as what they do on it. The team volunteered at the Oquirrh Mountain girls softball league and spends time in a one-day clinic teaching skills to the younger players. The players have also maintained a team 3.5 grade point average. 

“We focus on academics a lot,” McKissick said. “It is pretty amazing. I feel like they lead by example, and they have to do their best.” 

Arredondo was named to the UHSAA Academic All-State team. She maintained a 4.0 cumulative GPA throughout high school. Visser and Slade also had 3.9 cumulative GPAs.

“We are playing as a team,” McKissick said. “In the past, I have had some great players, but this group has worked together and relied on each other.”

McKissick is finishing her fifth season at Herriman. This year has been unlike any other off the field. The team has endured several tragedies along with the entire student body.

“It has been really rough,” McKissick said. “The kids have been wearing orange ribbons to remind them that life is precious. We include the heart on our field and remind them every day that they matter to us. It has been a sucky year. I have tried to honor these kids and pushed to be kind to each other. We do not know what everyone goes home to.”