2013 softball schedule announced

The Weber State University softball team recently announced its schedule for the 2013 season.

The Wildcats will return to action after an overall record of 21-32 during the 2012 season. The team went 9-7 at home and 7-15 on the road.

To begin its season, WSU will play four preseason tournaments. The first tournament, the Red Desert Classic, will be held in St. George,  Feb. 8-10.

The next preseason tournament will take place in Riverside, Calif., from Feb. 22-24.

“For us, the early tournaments will be used to gauge our progress as a team and to give several players experience at a variety of positions,” said head coach Tina Johnson in a prepared statement from WSU Athletics. “We’ll gain valuable experience and give the rookies a taste of what playing at this high of a level is all about. Those early tournaments will be about us watching and learning which players are making adjustments, how they handle pressure, and how quickly they improve their skills and decision-making on the field. All of this will pay off for us when we enter conference play.”

The Wildcats’ final two preseason tournaments will take place in the first week of March. The team will arrive in Las Vegas for the Eller Media Stadium Classic and then in Lakewood, Calif., to finish with the Long Beach State Invitational.

WSU’s season will begin with 12 straight home games against the University of North Dakota, the University of Great Falls, Portland State University and Utah Valley University from March 13 to April 2. The Wildcats will then have an eight-game stretch of away matches April 5-13.

WSU will return home on April 19 for a three-game set against Southern Utah University and its final home matches of the season.

To close out the 2013 Big Sky Conference season, the Wildcats will take on UVU in Orem and finish with a three-game series against the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.

The members of the team have already begun practicing and preparing for their upcoming season. WSU senior outfielder London Clarke said the team is getting into physical shape to get ready for play.

“We had a couple fall practice games,” Clarke said, “and we’ve had about a month of real team practice — most of it has just been conditioning and weight-lifting.”

Although the team has lost of few of its starters, Clarke said she believes the team will develop quickly and show its potential.

“We’re a lot younger this year, but I feel like we can do a great job,” she said. “Every year we’ve played, we’ve done better and better each time. So we’re hoping for this year to follow that pattern and we hope to continue to improve. We have lost about four or five players from last season, but we have a lot of young girls who are very good and we will be just fine.”

The Wildcats look to take some of the successes they saw from last year and work them into this season’s overall play.

“When we competed last season,” Clarke said, “our conference split into two separate divisions — the Mountain Division and the Pacific Division. We took second in the Mountain Division, so we did pretty well last year. “

With only a few months to go, WSU hopes to combine its talents into one solid team.

“Most of the practices are a lot of team-building workouts,” Clarke said. “It’s a lot of working together — not so much dealing with individual skills, but more fixing things as a whole and as a group. During the season, we work on whatever we need to change from the last game we played. It’s very specific to help us play as a group.”