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Prep softball: 5 locals star as Utah All-State Invitational takes second swing in Ogden

By CONNER BECKER - Standard-Examiner | Jun 19, 2024
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Syracuse junior Jazmine Prathan smiles toward the dugout before Game 1 of the Utah High School All-State Invitational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 4th Street Softball Complex in Ogden.
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Bear River junior Bella Douglas unloads a swing during Game 1 of the Utah High School All-State Invitational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 4th Street Softball Complex in Ogden.
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Bear River junior Luci Roche fires a hit to first base during Game 1 of the Utah High School All-State Invitational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 4th Street Softball Complex in Ogden.
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Box Elder senior Kellie Malan aims for third during Game 1 of the Utah High School All-State Invitational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 4th Street Softball Complex in Ogden.
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Bear River junior Luci Roche unloads a swing during Game 1 of the Utah High School All-State Invitational on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 4th Street Softball Complex in Ogden.

OGDEN -- More than 70 of the state's premier softball players gathered Wednesday in Ogden for the second annual Utah High School All-State Invitational at 4th Street Ball Park.

Youth sports nonprofit D1 Prospects featured six teams with five area stars -- Kellie Malan (Box Elder), Bella Douglas (Bear River), Luci Roche (Bear River), Jazmine Prathan (Syracuse) and Savannah Palmatier (Fremont) -- in its sequel to last year's inaugural tournament.

Twelve total head coaches, including Brogan Poll (Ogden) and Billy Peterson (Morgan), made the day possible, event organizer Shawna Weaver said.

"We hope that coaches see it as an opportunity for them to represent their school and to also have their kids out on the field as the best of Utah," Weaver said.

For many players, the 14-game tournament gives the state's best a chance to soak up some rays ahead of a busy club and travel team schedules. This year's invitational included a "Night of Recognition" on Tuesday to recognize 2024 state champions and other honors.

"I love playing local," Douglas, who logged two hits in the Yellow Team's 13-3 win over the Green Team, said. "It's fun to play with all my friends because back east I don't get to do that. ... It's really chill, we all get to have fun instead of the major competition you have at state."

Ogden's now home to the state's softball and baseball All-Star events. Angie Jacobs, a former D-I softball coach and D1 Prospect's director of college programs, said she was surprised to learn an All-Star event for softball didn't exist before last June.

The long-held baseball All-Star game hosted its annual competitions earlier this month at Lindquist Field.

"It's about getting these young women exposure at a higher level," Jacobs said. "It's a great thing because it gives (coaches) an opportunity to recognize their skill, their really good craft. ... It's just an opportunity for them to get out, play, and let everybody know they're here."

The event's main drawback is the lack of communication and support from coaches, even with sufficient turnout and response from invited players, Weaver said. Her organization, rooted heavily in softball, hasn't closed the door on expanding into other sports to grow its network.

"The issue we still continue to have is that there's a lot of coaches that are just unresponsive," Weaver said. "It's tough to pull all this together, but we're doing our best with the resources that we have."

Connect with prep sports reporter Conner Becker via email at cbecker@standard.net and X @ctbecker.

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