Softball vs. U of U

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Kami Johnson hits the ball in the exhibition game against Snow College on Sept. 24.

Yesterday, the Weber State University softball team took on Pac-12 opponent University of Utah at Ute Stadium. Battling the Utes, however, would prove to be no easy task for the Wildcats.

Though conditions were ideal for an exhibition softball game, the Wildcats struggled to pull runs together, resulting in a 13-1 loss against the Utes.

Junior utility player Symbree Minniear said that fall games are always tough on the team, but remains positive for the future.

“I feel that even though it wasn’t our best game, we are going to learn from our mistakes and work on getting better,” Minniear said. “It was a great opportunity for us to work with different combinations of defenses in live situations.”

Senior Erica James, native of Montpelier, Idaho, scored the Wildcats’ only run. Batting a 3-for-6, James held strong to pull the team together.

“We need to string our hits together,” James said. “We got a lot of hits, but we need to be a bit tighter.”

The WSU softball team is playing its first games this fall, and although they’re only exhibition games, they are chances for the Wildcats to gear up for the upcoming spring season. Having started off the preseason with such a strong opponent, the Wildcats remain optimistic for the upcoming season.

“We are a young team with a lot of new athletes this year,” James said. “We are just learning off of one another right now, and we want to improve so we will be ready to play in the spring.”

James said she hopes to help young athletes develop into strong future all-conference players. James was named to the All-Mountain Division team along with fellow teammates Britinie Hardine and Minniear.

“We have a lot of new freshmen who are learning how to play Division I softball,” James said. “Right now we are focused on working with one another, as well as teaching our younger teammates to be ready to play in the spring.”

The WSU softball program plays all of its home games at Wildcat Softball Field. The stadium was built in 2009 for the resubmission of the softball program  to WSU after the program was dropped in 1983. The field is located on the northwest side of the Dee Events Center.

Senior pitcher, Sarah Clark said that the team could have worked better as a unit in this preseason game.

“It wasn’t our best game,” Clark said. “We didn’t play well as a team. We really needed to be better about slowing down the tempo of the game.”

After finishing last season at 29-22, the U of U is now looking to get ready for the Pac-12. The program will bring back some of its top players, including its entire starting infield, which was the best-fielding team in the Mountain West last spring. Seniors Whitney Holm and Tia Palauni will be strong factors at the plate this year after hitting 17 of the Utes’ 19 home runs last year.

The Wildcats finished their season with a 12-38 record last year. But with new additions to the team, including eight freshmen and a new assistant coach, the Wildcats have a promising future on the softball field.

“We want to get more wins and do better in the conference this year,” Clark said. “But it’s still early in the season, and we plan to work hard and prepare for the upcoming season.”

The Wildcats will have another chance to take on the U of U at the Wildcat softball stadium on Oct. 19.