The end of a historic season


Kennedy Robins

Faith Hoe running back to the batter’s box after hitting a baseball with her bat.

After two games in the NCAA championship, Weber State University’s softball team fell out of the NCAA Division I softball tournament on May 21.

The Wildcats traveled to Seattle for the tournament, playing the University of Texas in the first round. Middle infielder Faith Hoe started the game with a double up center field. Pitcher Arissa Henderson singled and advanced Hoe to third. Despite having a runner in scoring position, Weber State wasn’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. Outfielder Chloe Camarero popped out, and a grounder from infielder McKell McCuistion turned into a double play for the Longhorns.

Hoe’s advancement to third base was the closest that pitcher Czech Estelle let anyone get to home plate for the rest of the game, only allowing three hits after the first inning and shutting out the Wildcats.

Led by their star infielder Janae Jefferson, the Longhorns dominated offensively. Jefferson had three hits, including a home run. Texas was able to score during three of the first four innings of the game. Neither team scored after the bottom of the fourth, where Texas put the game away with three runs, making the final score 6–0.

Facing elimination, Weber State played Lehigh University. The game started off slow as neither team was able to score till the fourth inning. A McCuistion single scored outfielder Marissa Cerda, who was pinch running for Henderson, putting the first points on the board. Outfielder Noelle Foster was then brought in to pinch run for McCuistion and was able to score off a single by catcher Lauren Hoe.

The Mountain Hawks responded at the top of the fifth, when fielder Karsen O’Rourke scored off a hit from Rory Dudley to right center. Dudley was left stranded on second after fielder Emily Cimino grounded out to end the inning.

Weber State added to their lead in the fifth. Infielder Makayla Donahoo started the inning with a single. A hit from outfielder Mia Rushton put Donahoo on second, where she was able to steal third base and score on a Faith Hoe flyout. Rushton then stole third base while Henderson was batting and later scored on a hit down the left field line to put the Wildcats up 4–1.

Outfielder Jaelynn Chesson bridged the gap for Lehigh by hitting a home run during the sixth inning. Pitcher Mariah Ramirez was able to stop the run by striking out infielder Brooke Cannon. The defense ended the inning with a double play.

At the bottom of the sixth inning, Weber State was ahead, but Lehigh was still on their heels. Three Mountain Hawks reached base to start the inning and a hit from Chesson brought two home to tie the game 4–4. Cannon was walked on later at bat with the bases loaded to put Lehigh on top by one.

Pitcher Gabriella Nori held the Wildcats scoreless in the seventh inning, only facing three batters. Lehigh advanced in the tournament, beating Weber State 5–4.

Weber State ended the season with a 38–12 record overall and a 13–1 conference record. The Wildcats won both the Big Sky regular season title as well as the Big Sky championship. Their schedule for the 2023 season is yet to be determined.