BRIGHAM CITY — Mallory Merrill always wanted to play high school softball with her older sister, Bayleigh.
But when Bayleigh moved by herself from Show Low, Arizona, to Mantua to play softball at Box Elder High School two years ago, such a scenario didn’t seem possible.
It suddenly became possible when Mallory and Bayleigh’s father, Brian, found out he would be able to relocate for his job. Now, it’s a reality.
Mallory, a sophomore, has been a starter on the Box Elder softball team along with Bayleigh, a senior, throughout this season.
“She pushes me to work harder,” Mallory said. “She knows how good I can be, so if she sees me slacking, she pushes me to do better.”
Although Mallory always wanted to play with her sister, when the time came to make the move, she admitted she hesitated.
Mallory started as a freshman on the Show Low High softball team, and moving meant she would have to prove herself all over again.
Bayleigh has been an important member of the varsity team since she arrived, but that didn’t guarantee Mallory a spot.
Ultimately, Mallory decided to go for it.
In Box Elder’s first game this season, Mallory homered and doubled. She went 3 for 5 overall and drove in three runs.
For the season, Mallory is batting .390 with six doubles, three homers and 18 RBIs.
“It’s super exciting to see your sibling succeed,” Bayleigh said. “It’s just fun to see them do good on varsity and be successful together.”
Bayleigh has continued doing what she’s done on the mound since she arrived. She’s 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 30 innings.
“They see a job ahead of them and they come to work and get the job done,” Box Elder coach Taleas Marble said.
Brian Merrill became part of the team as well, joining the coaching staff. He played high school baseball at Show Low, winning a state championship game over a team he said Show Low had lost to earlier in the year by 20 runs, and went on to get multiple degrees “in counseling and therapy and school psychology.”
“That’s what I do for a living,” he said. “I had my own practice in Arizona. I did therapy for people and then did psychological testing in schools.”
He believed his skill set made him useful to the team, so he contacted Marble. Marble acknowledged she believes the team collapsed mentally in its 4-A playoff game against Uintah last season.
Box Elder and Uintah were tied 0-0 in the seventh inning when Uintah hit three homers in four at-bats. Uintah won 4-0, eliminating Box Elder from the tournament.
“Instead of hitting one home run and shutting it down, they just kind of crumbled under it,” Marble said.
Marble hopes that with Brian Merrill’s assistance, the team can have a stronger resolve this year.
He said the key is to have the mentality that “if somebody hits a home run, it’s just one ball.”
Box Elder is in first place in Region 5 with a perfect 8-0 record and has won 12 in a row overall.