ST. GEORGE — Not long after Dixie High School lost to Pine View Friday, Shayne Batt announced he would no longer be the Flyers’ head softball coach.
“This was my last time coaching varsity, so I wanted to thank Dixie High School for giving me the opportunity to work with this group of athletes, and I wish them the best,” Batt told St. George News. “The team will have a new head coach starting next week.”
Batt, who was just past the halfway point of his first season as coach, said he will continue to work with the freshman team.
The decision, which he said was mutual between him and school officials, was made Wednesday morning, the day after Dixie’s loss to Snow Canyon.
“I did what’s best for the girls; it gives them a couple of highly qualified coaches,” he said, referring to Shaad Terrell, who will step in as head coach, and Casey Miller, a new assistant. Both are parents of current players, he added.
Batt said it was a hard decision but he’s staying positive and, as freshman team coach, hopes to “build the program from the bottom up.”
He said it was “hard for some of the players … they were confused and not sure what was going on.”
The first-year teacher at Dixie will continue helping coach the soccer team as well.
With Friday’s loss to Pine View, the young Flyers hit the halfway mark of the Region 9 season with an 0-6 record in a league stacked with solid teams, including powerhouses Cedar High and Desert Hills. Dixie is 1-13 overall.
The game pitted the final two teams without a win in region play, and the visiting Panthers got off the schneid with a 10-0 victory.
Panthers pitcher Abby Neilson surrendered just two hits in the game, which ended after six innings due to the mercy rule. She struck out seven and walked just one in facing 21 batters overall.
Neilson, who was suffering from an upset stomach, also had a single and drove in a pair of runs with a double.
Pine View assistant coach Russ Neilson pointed out that between shortstop Sydnee McArthur, who was responsible for seven outs in the field, and Abby Neilson’s seven strikeouts, they accounted for 14 of the 18 outs in the game.
McArthur also had two hits, a double and an RBI single, and scored two runs.
Catcher Hallie Linford had a single, double and triple.
The game was scoreless through the first two innings, but the Panthers broke through in the top of the third. Leachel Barlow drew a one-out walk and went to third on McArthur’s double to left-center field. Neilson drove both runners home with a double to left.
Pine View got four in the fourth beginning with a one-out single by Kinzie Sullivan, who advanced to second on a passed ball. Ryann Blaser plated her with a double to left. One out later, Barlow drove her in with a double to center. McArthur followed with her RBI single, then scored all the way from first when Dixie’s third baseman overthrew first on a hot shot by Neilson.
The Panthers added three more runs in the fifth on Linford’s double, an RBI single by Kaitlyn Roundy and some shoddy fielding by the Flyers. They scored their final run in the sixth.
Russ Neilson agreed that the game will serve as a springboard as the team heads into the second half of region play.
“I think going forward, we just needed kind of a spark. We got one good hit and it kind of snowballed,” he said.
“The girls have been confident; we have a lot of seniors who know they can do that.”
Next up, however, is Cedar.
Neilson laughed and said, “Cedar’s tough, we know they are … but it’s not like nobody can’t be beat, but we have to play well.”
Pine View hosts the Lady Reds April 10.
Likewise, Dixie’s next opponent is Cedar, April 13 in Cedar City.
Region 9 standings (region, overall)
- Cedar 5-0, 11-5
- Desert Hills 4-1, 13-2
- Snow Canyon 3-2, 9-5
- Canyon View 2-2, 3-5
- Hurricane 2-2, 9-3
- Pine View 1-4, 6-9
- Dixie 0-6, 1-13
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