OGDEN — If you saw Addie Jensen pitch during Big Sky Conference play, you’d never know she was recovering from a knee injury and perhaps should have been rusty.
The Morgan High graduate found her way to the close-to-home program after two years at Salt Lake Community College and one more at Utah Valley University but hurt her right knee during a December workout.
“I didn’t realize quite how hard it was going to be to get back for my senior year but I worked really hard ... I just wanted to come back and help my team out any way I could,” Jensen said.
She did not appear in her team’s first 16 contests and threw only seven innings before Big Sky play began.
Three weeks later, she had racked up a whopping 26 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run before Saturday’s loss at Idaho State. She picked up three wins and a save in four consecutive appearances.
Jensen said her first year at SLCC was spent with too much focus on earning individual accolades. Now?
“I just try to focus on getting ground balls, pop flies for my defense because I know I can’t do it alone ... 26 2/3 scoreless innings doesn’t happen alone, I have to give the credit to my defense,” she said.
Those words are far from empty. The core of that scoreless streak was a three-game home series against Southern Utah that saw tough, diving catches from outfielders Courtney Pestka and Takesha Saltern, among others. Pestka’s was a game-ender with SUU’s tying run on third base.
And then there was Landi Hawker robbing home runs in consecutive innings.
“I think that will go down as one of my favorite series that I’ve ever played,” Jensen said, connecting it to her full return from injury. “To be able to go out there and throw but know I didn’t need to be perfect … but that I could just hit my spots and my defense would have my back was the greatest feeling ever. I just got such a high from seeing my defense playing their butts off. It was so fun.”
Head coach Mary Kay Amicone said the team’s chemistry “has been a real plus — they really, truly love playing together.”
For Jensen, some of that is because finishing her career at Weber State is more than just playing at the closest college from her native Morgan.
In high school, she played on a summer travel team with other WSU players like Saltern, Hawker, Tatiana Su’esu’e, Sadie Blacker and Sydney White.
Last season while she was at Utah Valley, her Wolverines faced Weber State four times. The final time came during the National Invitational Softball Championships, a secondary postseason tournament, when the teams were placed in the same pod in Las Vegas.
In the same hotel with many of her high school friends, she confided that she wasn’t feeling great about her season at UVU — “it just wasn’t the right fit for me,” she said. Some of those WSU players said they could use another pitcher with Kirtlyn Bohling graduating, but that’s as far as it went.
Jensen felt it was still the right call to move on.
“I took a leap of faith and asked my coach to be released (from her UVU scholarship) because I felt like that what was best for me,” she said. “I got the release, emailed coach Amicone and got up on a visit and was really excited about the opportunity.”
Amicone said it seemed like an obvious fit.
“She’s a great team player and always had a great presence competing against her. Who doesn’t love a great team player?”
Weber State closes its home schedule this weekend by hosting a three-game series against Montana. At 9-1 in conference play, perhaps even one win in the series would clinch a spot in the upcoming conference tournament.
But with a three-game hold on first place, the Wildcats are looking to do much more than qualify.
“This is a championship program, so I want to win a championship,” Jensen said. “That’s our goal and I want that to be what I left Weber as a one-year senior.
“The talk now is, we’re just having the time of our lives. I’m having the time of my life playing with these girls. We’re just focused on playing our game and how we can perform our best. We’re just trying to fine-tune things so we can be prepared for the next two weeks and the conference tournament.”
Home games against Montana are scheduled for a 2 p.m. doubleheader Friday and the finale at noon Saturday.