After finishing six games above .500 heading into its conference season, the Weber State University softball team headed down to Cedar City over the weekend to take on Southern Utah University in its first Big Sky match-up of the year. The Wildcats played well in all games, but they were only able to get one win in their three-game series.
“We are just going to get better and better,” said WSU head coach Mary Kay Amicone. “That’s really exciting. It’s just a matter of us continuing to be really focused in and scoring more consistently throughout the game.”
In the first game Friday, the Wildcats took a three-run lead into the seventh inning, but ended up losing on a two-out hit to give the Thunderbirds the win.
The Wildcats were the first team on the board. They scored three runs in the top of the second inning, including an RBI double from senior Brooke Silva.
The Thunderbirds answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning. The Wildcats added a run in the top of the third inning to take a 4-2 lead. However, the Thunderbirds tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run single by catcher Lyndsey Healey.
The Wildcats added three runs in the top of the seventh inning, including two on a double from junior Mylee Davis. But the Thunderbirds scored four runs in the bottom of the inning. After getting two outs early in the inning, the Wildcats committed three errors that opened the door for the Thunderbirds to take the game.
“We did what we needed to do offensively, but defensively we made too many errors,” Amicone said. “We are better than that. We were right where we needed to be. Jasmine (Ioane) threw a great game. She gave us the ground balls. We just didn’t make the plays.”
The Wildcats bounced back in the second game Friday, getting an 8-3 win. The Thunderbirds’ bats were still smoking in the first inning. They had four hits and scored two runs.
But in the second inning, the Wildcats’ bats caught up with them. Lead-off hitter Sara Hingsberger hit a solo-shot down the left field line. The Wildcats put together three more hits that drove in runs, putting the end of the last game and the start of the current game behind them.
“This is a group that has a lot of fight to them,” Amicone said. “We made an effort to just clear (the loss) from our minds and fix it. Then our bats went to work. We put up an immediate home run. Then we had two back-to-back hits. From then on, we felt like we were hitting the ball pretty squarely.”
After the three consecutive RBI hits, it was Silva’s turn to come to the plate. With two runners on base, Silva took her pitch over the right-center fence, capping off a seven-run inning for WSU.
“I think that I went to that at-bat more relaxed than I did in the beginning with my other at-bats,” Silva said. “My team was hitting, so I just told myself I needed to be relaxed, and I went up there more relaxed swinging the bat. When you are relaxed, it happens, and when your team is hitting, you want to do well.”
The Wildcats put together a solid hitting performance in their game Saturday, reaching base 10 times. But the Thunderbirds turned their 11 hits into 10 runs, scoring three runs in the second inning and four runs in the fifth to leave with a 10-5 win.
Despite the two losses, the Wildcats said they saw a lot of positives, including the way they played against a top team after being ranked second to last in the preseason rankings. The Wildcats look to build upon the win and prove their critics wrong.
“A lot of people think that we are that team, but we aren’t,” Silva said. “We are a different team than we have been since I’ve been here. Getting the first win in the Big Sky will definitely help us to continue to get those wins. I think that will give us confidence in our team, beating a team like that.”