Video: Greatest HR-robbing catch of all time
If you haven't already, you have to see this softball catch from a Utah state title game
Multiple seasons as a cellar dweller became a distant memory for Desert Hills this spring. The Thunder (21-8) tripled their win total from a year ago and reached the Class 3A softball tournament for the first time since 2010.
It helped Desert Hills emerge as the most improved Utah softball team in 2016, according to the MaxPreps Utah Softball Computer Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
. The Thunder climbed 34 spots from a year ago, rising from 58th overall in 2015 to 24th overall in 2016.
Desert Hills led a resurgence among several central and southern Utah high schools. Six of the 10 most improved high school softball teams in 2016 came from that portion of the state – including Class 2A champion Manti.
Manti won the state title after doubling its win total from a year ago. The Templars (25-3) won 20 straight games to end the season after posting a losing record in 2015. They jumped 25 spots in the rankings, ranking 13th overall in 2016 after finishing 38th overall a year earlier.
Box Elder made the biggest jump among Class 4A teams. The Bees (22-7) won six more games than a year ago and claimed the Region 5 title for a fifth-consecutive season. It helped Box Elder rise 24 spots to sixth overall this season after ranking 30th overall in 2015.
West showed the greatest improvement among Class 5A teams this spring. The Panthers (26-5) won eight more games than last season, claimed their second-straight Region 2 title and finished as the Class 5A runner-up to eventual state champion Riverton. West ranked seventh overall this season, climbing 16 spots after finishing 23rd overall a year ago.
Top 10 Most improved Utah softball teams in 2016
1. Desert Hills (St. George)
2 (tie). Manti
2 (tie). Union (Roosevelt)
4. Box Elder (Brigham City)
5 (tie). West (Salt Lake City)
5 (tie). Cedar City
7. Uintah (Vernal)
8 (tie). Gunnison Valley (Gunnison)
8 (tie). Grand County (Moab)
John Coon covers Utah high school sports for MaxPreps. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @johncoonsports