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’Cats bat .400 in trio of season opening tournaments

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Pitcher Kirtlyn Bohling, mid-throw. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

The Weber State University softball team has been spending time along the west coast, traveling to two states and three different cities to open the season. WSU has started the season off with a 6-9 record but are 3-2 in their last five games.

They have played tournaments in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Cathedral City, which is also in California. This trip has allowed four players to return to their home state, with sophomore Juliana Tricarico, and freshmen Chloe Camarero and Kate Donaldson from The Golden State and freshman Ali Belloc as the team’s lone Arizona native.

The Wildcats have had a tough schedule to start the new season. They have had no home games and have not yet in the state of Utah. They also have faced off against the University of Oklahoma Sooners, who at the time, were the nation’s best team. The Sooners are also the NCAA’s reigning national champions.

Their first tournament was the Grand Canyon Kickoff, where they took on the aforementioned Sooners, the University of the Pacific twice, the University of Montana and Grand Canyon University, the tournament hosts. The Wildcats opened the tournament with losses to Pacific and Oklahoma on the first day.

On the second day of the tournament, they claimed their first wins of the season, first against the Grizzlies before taking down the Tigers in their second matchup. The ’Cats fell to GCU on the last day in Arizona.

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Ashlee Anderson, center, reaches for a tag, narrowly missing. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Weber State then traveled the next week to Cathedral City for the Mary Nutter Classic. The Wildcats went 1–4 on the trip, claiming their only victory over Army in the opening match of the weekend.

On Feb. 23 the WSU softball team took the field in sunny Los Angeles for the LMU Tournament. They played only two teams in the weekend, taking on the University of Hawai’i three times and Loyola Marymount University twice.

The ’Cats bested the Rainbow Warriors twice on the opening day and claimed victory over the Lions in the final game of the trip.

At this point in the season, sophomore Ashlyn Visser is leading the team with six home runs and 15 RBIs. Sophomore Takesha ‘Bug’ Saltern is the team leader with 22 hits and eight stolen bases.

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Landi Hawker, 'Cats outfielder, slides for second. She was called safe. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

On the mound, Donaldson is the team leader with three wins while senior Kirtlyn Bohling leads the team in almost every other category. Bohling leads the team in ERA with 2.69, innings pitched with 41.2 and strikeouts with 36. She has also walked a team-high 18 batters and hit another 10 batters with pitches.

The Wildcats are now preparing for the Red Desert Tournament, which will take place in St. George and begin on March 2. In this tournament, the Wildcats will play Utah Valley University twice, the University of Nevada, Boise State University and the Redhawks of Seattle University. This will be the first slate of games in Utah for the Wildcats.

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A wildcat player slides home. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

After the Red Desert Tournament, The Wildcats head up to the Pacific Northwest where they will take part in the Oregon Tournament in Eugene. The Wildcats will face off against the University of Toledo once, Bryant University twice and the hosting Oregon Ducks twice.

While the 6–9 start to the season leaves them several games below a .500 record, it is not a sign of concern for the team. The record has them squarely in third place in the conference, behind only the University of Northern Colorado and the University of North Dakota. It is also the same record last season’s Wildcats had through 15 games, and they ended up with 37 wins and a postseason appearance.

This can also be expected from the team, as there are 15 underclassmen and 6 upperclassmen faced with a tough playing schedule and a rigorous travel schedule.

The opportunities for the Wildcats to learn from taking on top teams like Oklahoma, who are now the fourth best team in the country, and Stanford University are immense. They give the Wildcats nowhere to go but up with two tournament to play before Big Sky Conference play begins.

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