The Weber State University club baseball team is making strides.
The Wildcats, who compete in the Northern Pacific Region of the NCBA, are always striving to get better. Games are played in the spring and fall, but practice is held year-round.
Club president Colton Michaelsen, who is in his third year, said the program has rapidly expanded since he first joined.
“My first year at Weber, I joined the club and we only had nine guys,” Michaelsen said. “We’ve grown to 20-something guys that we have now, so it’s come a long ways.”
The team has enjoyed recent success, coming within one win of a championship in a tournament played in Henderson, Nevada in the fall of 2017.
“Anytime we go traveling anywhere, it’s always a good time,” Michaelsen said. “I love getting out with these boys, just hanging out and doing what I love.”
Head coach Keisuke Shimane is in his third year with the ’Cats, and has a passion for the sport.
“I just love baseball,” Shimane said. “We have some good players.”
Shimane also played on the team when he first joined, while also writing the lineup card for games.
Sophomore Preston Smith, who plays second base for WSU, is particularly fond of the travel associated with the club.
“We definitely have a ton of bonding experiences,” Smith said. “Once you venture out, you really get to bond and mesh with your team and get to know each other. It becomes a band of brothers, not just a team.”
The longest road trip for Weber State has been an eleven-hour drive to Tempe, Arizona to take on Arizona State.
Smith also enjoys the on-field action at the keystone sack.
“I definitely love playing middle infield,” Smith said. “There’s a lot going on and you have to be athletic. You get to see a little bit more action.”
Upon joining the team, first baseman Cash Morgan, who tries to model his play after Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, was unsure what to expect after his high school baseball experience.
Morgan said, “(High school) was pretty strict. I had a pretty hard-nosed coach. I was a little skeptical playing baseball for college, but it’s super laid back and fun to be with the guys playing ball.”
The Wildcats now dress around 15 players on game days. Shimane joked that creating lineups was easier when he had the same starting nine for every game.
“I just needed to put everyone’s name in,” Shimane said.
Michaelsen said anyone who is interested in joining the team will get a look from the staff.
Michaelsen said, “Most of the time, we will have them come out to a practice, see if they fit in, and have a little tryout for them. It’s a club team, so anyone can join.”
The challenges of running a club team are more than home runs and strikeouts. Even though they are not affiliated with the NCAA, the team still has costs, and work that has to be out in by the student athletes.
“There’s a lot of paperwork and forms that you have to fill out,” Michaelsen said. “You have to make sure everything is paid for, such as the hotels. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
Weber State holds practice on Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. MDT in the Marquardt Fieldhouse.