The future for last year’s champions

Weber State University’s women’s softball team dominated last season, going 13–1 in the Big Sky and 38–10 overall. They were named 2022 Big Sky conference champions and won their ninth overall championship as a program, run-ruling every team they faced in the playoffs on their road to the title.

Last season, coach Mary Kay Amicone won her 100th game. In 2019, the Wildcats were the first Big Sky school to win an NCAA regional game.

With all of the success from past years, Weber State will host the Big Sky tournament, getting an opportunity to repeat as champions.

“We won a lot last year,” middle-fielder Faith Hoe said. “We’re going to have to learn a new way to win. Every year, you have to get to that point and learn how the team ticks.”

With the first game of the season just weeks away, it’s time to look again at the Wildcat’s roster.

2023 Roster
Outfielder Katelyn Whiting is a veteran from last year who had 46 putouts with two assists for a 1.000 fielding percentage — the highest on the team.

Third base/utility sophomore Abby Grundy is going into her second year and was previously a part of the 2022 championship team.

Utility player Taegan Smith is an incoming freshman. She was named Mountain Ridge High’s Most Valuable Player her senior year and will bring new blood to the Wildcat locker room.

A team veteran, senior outfielder Kortney Kemper was a part of Weber State’s Big Sky Championship teams in 2021 and 2022. She earned All-Academic Big Sky honors last season.

Infield Emily Ruhl is going into her junior year. In the 2022 season, she was an All-Big Sky conference honorable mention and had 14 putouts and 54 assists for a .958 fielding percentage.

Junior infielder/pitcher Brooke Hatfield pitched in eight games last season. Pitching against notable programs last season like the University of California, Hatfield played a total of 8.2 innings and made one start.

Jayci Finch is a sophomore but hasn’t played for the Wildcats. She will make her season debut this year. In 2021, she played at Clearfield High School and was named First Team All-State and a three-time Golden Glove recipient.

Junior pitcher Madison Peterson played in four games last season, starting in one. She pitched 6.1 innings for the Wildcats.

Sophomore outfielder Gianna Memoli had 10 putouts and a .833 fielding percentage last season. In her prep/club career, she won Region Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.

Middle fielder Faith Hoe is a Veteran on this team. Playing second base, she has been named to the All-Big Sky Conference First Team the past two seasons. She was also a part of the 2019 team that won the NCAA regional tournament, the first in Big Sky history.

Veteran infielder McKell McCuistion last season had 10 home runs, a .583 slug percentage and 41 RBIs. McCuistion also had 294 putouts and nine assists for a .993 fielding percentage. She was also a part of the 2019 championship squad.

Outfielder Victoria Rey is an incoming freshman. During her prep/club career, she was named First-Team All-State in 2021 and First-Team All-League in 2021 and 2022.

Junior middle infielder Makayla Donahoo received All-Big Sky honorable mentions in 2021 and 2022, having 52 putouts and 81 assists for a .943 fielding percentage.

Junior outfielder Mia Rushton was named Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2021. Last season, she had 145 at-bats and 16 RBIs with a .359 slugging percentage. Rushton was also an honorable mention for an All-Big Sky team last year.

A veteran presence, senior outfielder Noelle Foster has been a part of two Wildcat regular season titles and last year’s championship-winning team. Last season, she had eight putouts with a .889 fielding percentage.

Catcher Mika Chong is going into her second year. Last season, she was named to the All-Big Sky Conference First Team as a nonpitcher/utility player. As a freshman, Chong led the Big Sky in batting percentage and won a player of the week award.

Freshman catcher/outfielder Riley Whalen received First-Team All-League every year she attended at Vista Murrieta High School in California. Her prep/club career was played at Mercado Academy.

Senior pitcher Amanda Johnson pitched for 62 innings last season with a 10–1 record in the games she played. She had a total of 39 strikeouts, two putouts and a fielding percentage of .941.

Sophomore pitcher Cali McCraw was a four-year all-conference athlete while playing for her club team, the Indiana Gators. This season will be her debut with the Wildcats.

Veteran catcher/utility Lauren Hoe was named to the Big Sky Conference Second Team last season with 123 at-bats, 17 runs, 40 hits and 21 RBIs. She also had 300 putouts with a fielding percentage of .991. In 2021, she was named Big Sky Conference Player of the Year.

Sarah Ruhl, an incoming freshman, is Emily Ruhl’s sister. In 2021 and 2022, she won First-Team All-League at Diamond Bar High School in California.

“We have a lot of returners coming back on the infield and our defense looks strong,” Faith Hoe said. “We have enough solid hitters to make something happen, and we’re excited about a couple of freshmen that should make an impact. I think all around, the team is very close this year.”

Facing the 2022 NCAA-championship-winning University of Oklahoma team this season, Memoli is excited for the tough matchups.

“There’s always a little bit of pressure but I feel like if we’re just confident and playing the way we know how to play, we should have a great season,” Memoli said.

Faith Hoe said as a team, they have already been through a lot and it’s a privilege to be a part of this game. She is hoping to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

The Wildcats start their season on Feb.10 against Baylor University at a tournament hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.