A dominant performance from Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year Arissa Henderson led Weber State University’s softball team to a 10–0 win over Idaho State University during the quarter-final of the Big Sky Conference Championships on May 11.
“It’s just super exciting,” Henderson said. “I’ve never been a part of a postseason tournament, so it was really exciting to come out with a bang.”
Idaho State’s Rheanne Lewis started off the game with a single. Despite stealing second base, the Wildcat’s defense stopped the Bengals from making another play till the end of the first inning.
Coming off a win against Northern Colorado University just a few hours earlier, Big Sky freshman of the year pitcher Haley Rainey stepped on the mound for Idaho State. The Wildcats started off their half of the inning with a single from middle infielder Faith Hoe. Henderson went to bat next, where she sent the ball flying to left field. Reaching the warning track, Henderson’s bomb was caught and turned into a sacrificial fly, advancing Faith Hoe to second base.
With one out on the board, outfielder Chloe Camarero stepped up to the plate. A wild pitch by Rainey allowed Faith Hoe to steal third base. Camarero then hit a two-run homer to give Weber State an early 2–0 lead.
Weber State tried to extend the inning as infielder McKell McCuistion singled. However, she was tagged out stealing second base. Catcher Lauren Hoe struck out to retire the inning.
Idaho State was able to enjoy more success in the second inning than they did in the first. Bengals pitcher Mailee Newman reached third on steals. However, it wasn’t enough put Idaho State on the scoreboard. Henderson struck out Brook Richards to bring Weber State’s offense back out on the field.
Infielder Emily Ruhl started off the Wildcats’ half of the inning with a single. Outfielder Marissa Cerda was brought on as a pinch runner, where she stole second base during Katelyn Whiting’s at bat. After Whiting struck out, middle infielder Makayla Donahoo singled, barely beating a throw to first base.
A hit from Mia Rushton to Idaho State outfielder Kaylee Butterworth looked like it was going to be the Wildcats’ second out of the inning. However, Butterworth errored, putting Rushton on first and bringing Cerda home. Faith Hoe stepped up to the plate next, where she hit up the middle. However, Rainey wasn’t able to secure the ball, putting Faith Hoe on base again.
With the bases loaded, Henderson went to bat. After being just shy of a home run last at bat, the pitcher added more power and hit a grand slam over the left field fence, making the score 7–0. Emma McMurray was then brought on to replace Haley Rainey for the Bengals. The inning was retired after a Camarero strikeout and a McCuistion pop out.
Idaho State threatened Weber State’s run-rule in the third inning as five Bengals were able to get on base. However, a phenomenal Donahoo throw to Lauren Hoe stopped Lewis from scoring, keeping the score 7–0.
Lauren Hoe started the third inning with a double to left. She was able to round the bases off a single from Ruhl, putting the Wildcats up 8–0. Whiting then reached base off a hit to right. Both were brought home by a Faith Hoe single, making the score 10–0.
Henderson’s dominant pitching complimented by the Wildcats’ defense stopped Idaho State from scoring for the rest of the shortened game as Weber State run-ruled Idaho State.
“We’re not done yet,” Henderson said. “We talked a lot before the tournament about what we’re going to do this year that didn’t go well last year. We just made some adjustments, and it turned out well today.”
The Wildcats will take on Sacramento State University at Wildcat Softball Field on May 12 at 5 p.m.