San Juan softball team suffers tough losses, we talk with new head coach Mike Bowers
by Rhett Sifford
The San Juan softball team suffered three losses at the Moab Round Robin on Saturday, March 19, but they nearly broke through for their first win of the season in a battle for the ages against the rival Red Devils.
The Broncos opened the weekend event with an 8-0 loss to the Juab Wasps, then fell to the Enterprise Wolves 21-8.
In the closing contest of the tourney, San Juan was down 6-0 to Grand but outscored the Red Devils 10-5 in the final three innings, including a four-run fifth.
Sadly the Bronco rally fell one run short when Grand found a way to get the final putout and secure an 11-10 win.
The result indicates the progress San Juan has already made in the early stages of the season. The score on Saturday was obviously much closer than the Broncos’ 10-0 season-opening loss to their rivals on March 8.
Longtime softball stalwart Mike Bowers, who took over as head coach for San Juan this season, says the team is young and inexperienced, but as they get the season underway in earnest he looks to help the players build their knowledge of the game and improve consistently.
The San Juan Record conducted an interview with Bowers via email following the team’s return from Moab. Here are his comments on the young season and his team:
Q: What are your thoughts and feelings as you enter the season?
A: As we enter the season my goal is to increase our softball IQ and get better each day. We have the ability to learn and grow and I believe do damage in the playoffs.
Q: Who do you expect to step up into leadership roles this year?
A: I expect all of my players to work toward leading. Our expectations for leaders/influencers are that they lead with a positive attitude, actions, and hustle. Nobody holds the patent on these traits. No matter your talent you can always control your attitude, your actions, and your hustle.
Additionally, we teach players that their teammates need to know three things: do they care for me? Can they help me? Can I trust them? It’s still way too early to see who is going to take on leadership roles and what that will look like. I don’t want to taint the waters with speculation this early in the season.
Q: What are the team’s strengths?
A: Our team strength is that our girls are fighters; they don’t quit. More importantly, they have a desire and willingness to learn. These traits are our best chance to build a program they can be proud of.
Q: What weaknesses do you think you will need work on this year?
A: We have a ton of work to do. Our softball IQ (knowledge of the game) is very low right now. So we need to build in game situations within our practices in order to increase our team’s knowledge of the game. The upside is that our girls are so invested in learning the game and doing whatever it takes to fast-track their learning.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
A: Our staff's goal is to teach these young ladies the game of softball while arming them with strong life lessons throughout the season. Softball is the greatest sport on the planet to teach someone how to deal with adversity, failure, and self doubt.
For example, if a player bats .500 (which is incredible), that player still failed 50 percent of the time. We want them to learn to deal with failure, accept the lesson, and recover quicker. The only difference between a good player and great player is that the post-failure recovery time is shorter for the great players.
Q: What does your region/classification look like this year?
A: We are finally where San Juan belongs in the classifications. For several seasons San Juan has struggled and most of that was because we were in the 3A division. Many times throughout the years I saw 3A teams that could literally whip any 4A to 5A team. These teams play travel ball and often play anywhere from 60 to 90 games a year or more.
When asked if there was anything else he wanted to let the public know about his team, Coach Bowers said, “I want people to watch this team grow. This will be a special season.”
The girls are set for a fairly busy week. By the time you read this they will have already faced the North Sevier Wolves to open 2A Central Region play on Tuesday, March 22.
They’ll continue region play with a trip to Monroe on Friday, March 25 to take on the South Sevier Rams. It’s a doubleheader with the games set for 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.