The Weber State University softball team finished the 2018 season short of their ultimate goal, but it was still a success in the eyes of head coach Mary Kay Amicone.
“A few years ago, we set the standard that we are bound and determined to be the conference champions and have a competitive RPI,” Amicone said. “We accomplished that mission.”
The Wildcats shared the regular season conference title with Sacramento State before dropping both of their games in the Big Sky Tournament. WSU was then invited to the NISC postseason tournament in Las Vegas, where they lost two of three contests.
“Down the stretch, we had a chance to win it (regular season championship) outright and just fell a little short,” Amicone said. “I think (the postseason) experience is going to drive our determination for next year.”
Before the grind of the conference schedule began, Weber State had the opportunity to face high leverage competition throughout preseason tournaments. The Wildcats held a brief lead in their opening game against Oklahoma, and also took on teams such as Stanford and Oregon. This was an experience sophomore first baseman Ashlyn Visser benefited from.
“We played a lot more high caliber teams,” Visser said. “Last year we didn’t get a lot of experience, but I think it made us grow as a team this season.”
The slugging Visser led the Wildcats with 12 home runs on the year.
“I definitely think my power role was consistent throughout the year,” Visser said. “I feel like I did my job, which is to be an RBI producer.”
Another key contributor for WSU in 2018 was senior pitcher Kirtlyn Bohling. The right-hander started 28 of the team’s 54 games, picking up 12 complete games. Bohling finished her career as a Wildcat with a record of 63–40, a school record for victories.
“Just looking back at all four years, you really can’t ask for much more,” Bohling said. “Being a part of the first conference championship team (in 2015), and then continuing the tradition of winning some part of the Big Sky every year has been special.”
Other noteworthy performances came from freshman infielder Ali Belloc (.248 average, 22 runs batted in), along with sophomore outfielders Takesha Saltern (.353, 33 stolen bases) and Landi Hawker (.325, 16 steals).
Amicone said a defining moment in her team’s season came in the elimination loss in the Big Sky Tournament. On a rainy Friday evening in front of the home crowd, the Wildcats rallied for two runs in their final at-bat before ultimately falling 4–3 to Portland State.
“To see us rally back and show who we are was an illustration of what we are capable of doing,” Amicone said. “This team grew together.”
The Wildcats will now take time off before playing a series of scrimmages in the fall.
For Bohling, she said is going to miss her squad.
“The reason you thrive (in softball) is because of the people around you,” Bohling said. “I am definitely going to miss my teammates. I will also miss striking people out.”