So close, yet so far.
The lights went out on the Big Sky tournament run for the Weber State University softball team on May 11, as Portland State held on for a 4–3 victory over Weber State at the Wildcat Softball Field.
The Wildcats trailed 4–1 going into the seventh and final inning. With two runners on base and two outs, the ‘Cats were twice down to their final strike before Ashlyn Visser reached on an error and Molly Horne singled home a run to bring the home team within one run. However, Vikings right-hander Alyssa Burk was able to coax Weber State freshman Ali Belloc into a game-ending flyout.
Wildcats’ head coach Mary Kay Amicone said the abrupt end was not what her team was anticipating.
“It’s a tough way to end,” Amicone said. “I loved the fight and effort in the comeback. Obviously, it is disappointing.”
The start of the contest was delayed nearly five and a half hours as a result of overnight rain, which led to an unplayable field. Crews worked tirelessly to get the field into adequate condition.
“That (weather) is pretty much part of the deal when you are playing softball or any outdoor sport,” Amicone said. “I thought we came out ready to go.”
Weber State fell into an early hole for the second consecutive tournament game. Portland State plated four runs in the second inning off senior right-hander Kirtlyn Bohling, none of which were earned. Two errors by sophomore shortstop Sydney White led to the Wildcats’ downfall in the frame.
Weber State was held largely in check by Burk throughout the first six innings, scoring just one run. Amicone’s squad did manage nine hits on the evening but stranded eight runners on base.
“We just made a few mistakes,” Amicone said. “At the end, we really picked it up. I thought we gave ourselves a chance to walk it off.”
While the Wildcats were eliminated from a bid in the NCAA Tournament, the loss to the Vikings was not necessarily their final contest of the 2018 season. Amicone is optimistic her team will receive a bid in the National Invitational Softball Championship.
“There is a good shot because of our co-championship in the regular season,” Amicone said. “Either way, our hope is that we can continue on.”
In the case Weber State does not earn an invite, Amicone said it is hard to process that four Wildcat seniors have played their last game.
“I can’t really comprehend it,” Amicone said. “It seems surreal to have those four walk off the field.”
Whenever the conclusion of the season comes, Weber State will lose Bohling, Horne, McKinley Brinkerhoff and Rae Gall as they were part of the Weber State graduating class of 2018.