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Taylorsville Journal

Youth fast pitch team Kombat wins state title

Oct 21, 2020 02:52PM ● By Greg James

The 8 and under girls all-star team from Taylorsville fast pitch huddles around the large trophy it took home after winning the state championship. (Photo courtesy of Cassie Sandberg.)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Kombat; a team from Taylorsville fast pitch, brought home the 8 and under state recreation tournament championship.

“It was a really intense game,” head coach Cassie Sandberg said. “These girls have played together for a couple of years. They are a great group of girls. We knew this was a special group.”

Three girls were able to repeat the state championship feat of their older sisters; Maya Sandberg, Abraya Yazzie and Lyla Cowley were not to be outdone by their older sisters who won the title a few years ago. 

Kombat lost only three times all season. Their championship run was pushed to the if-necessary game in the bracket when they lost to the Oquirrh Mountain Edge 12-10 but rebounded to win the title 19-16.

“It was the only age group that went to that extra game. They were playing under the lights with everyone watching it was very exciting,” Sandberg said.

The 8 and under girls softball age group is coach pitch and is the youngest division offered in girls fastpitch softball. At that age, accelerated teams are not available. This year Taylorsville had about 50 girls enrolled in the division. 

The spring season was pushed back to June this year because of the pandemic. It also cut into the normal five all-star preparation tournaments that are normally held. Kombat played in Grantsville the week before the state tournament and took second place to the Edge.

“This year, because of COVID, there were not as many teams, but to win against the best players is pretty exciting,” Sandberg said. “We started playing in June; it pushed back almost two full months. In the past, we would have had four or five tournaments to prepare, but this year we only had one. COVID delayed everything, and at times we did not know if we would even have a season, but with several restrictions and guidelines from the county we were able to pull it off.”

The state tournament included teams from West Valley, Oquirrh Mountain, Vernal, Grantsville and Roosevelt. The Taylorsville Gremlins also competed. They lost their first two games and were eliminated.

Kombat outscored their opponents 222-114.

“For a while morale was very low,” Sandberg said. “We knew this was our last year and we wanted to make a run.” 

The team was coached by Sandberg, Will Yazzie, Hollie Davis, Mike Johnson and Paige Johnson.

The players included Paislee Cooper, Lyla Cowley, Emerge Davis, Kylee Dunn, Madison Goble, Briauna Hurtado, Jessica Johnson, Kimber Johnson, Liyana Knight, Leaaliimanuu Mailo, Maya Sandberg and Abraya Yazzie.

Taylorsville fastpitch softball league is a competitive recreational league. It offers spring and fall seasons. 

The 18 and under legends also took second place at the state tournament. The girls were honored at a special city council meeting earlier this month.

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