Home runs and snowflakes followed the Weber State Wildcats when the softball team took the diamond in Ogden to face in-state rival Utah State for the team’s first home game at Wildcat Softball Field since the April 19, 2019 victory over Montana.
What started out as a sunny afternoon turned into an all-out snowstorm after two innings of play and a 5–4 lead for the Aggies over the Wildcats.
“It felt incredible because this past year, all we’ve wanted to do is play at home,” Mariah Ramire, the Wildcats’ sophomore pitcher, said. “This weather sucks, but it was fun the first two innings.”
The game was already higher-scoring in just two innings than the seven the teams played at the Dixie State Tournament on Feb. 27. The Aggies won that game 2–0 in St. George.
The game won’t affect the Wildcats’ record, but will instead be entered into to the record books as canceled.
After an initial delay, the umpires called the game as snow began turning the diamond’s clay to mud.
“I think all around we’re just really grateful to be here and be playing softball just with COVID and everything,” Chloe Camarero, the Wildcats’ First Team All-Conference senior third baseman, said. “We haven’t been able to play a home game in a while, but even if weather like this happens, we’re just really grateful to even get two innings in.”
WSU’s right-hander Kate Donaldson started the game as pitcher for the Wildcats, and the first Aggie batter hit right to third base, where Camarero bulleted a throw to Wildcats’ first baseman Ashlyn Visser for the first out of the game.
The Aggies’ second batter up, Stephanie Reed, hit a single up the middle of the field between shortstop and second base.
On a 2–2 pitch count, Donaldson struck out USU’s Gabriella Jimenez for two outs.
With Reed in scoring position for the Aggies after stealing second and third base, Donaldson pitched to USU’s Kennedy Hira, who hit a line-drive to third caught by Camarero for the third out.
The Wildcats brought the power during their first at-bats.
WSU freshman outfielder Mia Rushton bunted and was thrown out at first, but sophomore Katelyn Whiting headed to first base on a walk, bringing Camarero to the plate.
On a 2–0 pitch count, Camarero hit the ball out of the park for a two-run homer to put the Wildcats up 2–0 on the scoreboard.
“It felt great,” Camarero said of her first inning home run. “It was great all around to be at home.”
After the home run, Visser stepped up to the plate for the Wildcats, hitting a single.
With Visser on first, sophomore Lauren Hoe’s hit was scooped up by the Aggies, and Visser was forced out at second base.
With two outs and a 2–0 pitch count, Mariah Ramirez hit the ball over the centerfield fence for the Wildcats’ second two-run homer of the game.
“It was just amazing,” Ramirez said of hitting a home run in the first home game of the season.
Freshman outfielder Noelle Foster grounded out to the pitcher for the third out, ending the first inning with four runs on three hits for WSU.
At the top of the second, the Aggies’ scoring run began with three straight walks.
After a baserunner was walked in, scoring for the Aggies, Jimenez hit a two-RBI single.
With two outs, USU’s Lexi Orozco hit a two-RBI triple to give the Aggies a 5–4 lead.
To end the second inning, the Wildcats went three-up and three-down before the game was ended due to snow.
The Wildcats’ overall record is 11-9. The teams played in the Grand Canyon, UNLV and Dixie State tournaments.
WSU played tough competition to start the season: Oregon, the University of Utah, Grand Canyon, UNLV, Dixie State and Utah State among others.
The Wildcats haven’t played a single conference game yet.
“This is going to be my first home-opener in conference for me, so I’m really looking forward to what the conference experience really is, because last year got cut short,” Ramirez said. “But we’re all hungry and ready to play.”
The first Big Sky game comes when Idaho State arrives under the looming Wasatch Mountains on March 26 for a doubleheader and a single game on March 27.
“We’ve been waiting to play, so it’ll be really awesome to get going again,” Camarero said.
WSU’s home stretch at Wildcat Softball Field continues on April 6, with a single game versus Utah Valley and on April 9, a double header against Sacramento State.