Even with unexpected departures depleting the softball team this season, accepting mediocrity is a thought coach Todd Fairbourne refuses to entertain.

Not even a 3-9 record to start the 2008 campaign shakes the coach’s belief that his team will compete at a high level.

Being short on pitchers and other positional players this season has offered opportunity for others to step up.

Fairbourne has preached to his team the importance of preparation.

"When the opportunity arises, they jump on it," Fairbourne said. "We have to find a way to be successful and find a way to win."
So far, the Wolverines have looked to sophomore Alli Bramwell to step in and pitch.

"What she does pitching will dictate how we do," Fairbourne said. Bramwell, a transfer from Snow College, was named the Class 5A MVP as a senior at Timpanogos High School. Her 3-2 record and 4.85 ERA have led the Wolverines to their only wins of the season.

Offensively, Utah Valley will rely on junior Heidi Stocks to drive in runs and get on base. With a .424 batting average and 10 RBI’s so far, she has provided the pop in the Wolverine lineup.

Fairbourne will need to cultivate some young talent as several newcomers will see extended playing time.

"I hope they all produce," he said of his youngsters. "If they don’t, we’ll have a mediocre year."

A tough schedule could also cause havoc for Utah Valley. The Wolverines will play teams from the Big 12, Big 10, WAC and MWC. They also play 33 games on the road to 18 at home this season.

Toughness and preparation will be key to the Wolverines’ success this year, according to Fairbourne.

"I’m a poor loser," Fairbourne said. "When it comes down to it, you base your success on wins and loses."