After Chloe Camarero lined her fourth hit of the contest into left field and Syd White raced around from second to slide in safely, their Weber State teammates paused a moment before celebrating the game-winning, 10th-inning play.
Two innings earlier, an RBI single that seemed to have won the game didn’t. But after a quick pause, the No. 1 seed Wildcats knew this time the win was complete — a 3-2 victory over Portland State to open the Big Sky softball tournament Wednesday at Shea Stadium in Sacramento, California.
Camarero finished 4 for 5 at the plate and, as the league’s top RBI hitter might do, drove in all of Weber’s runs: a two-run homer in the first and the RBI single in the 10th.
Equally as impressive: senior pitcher Addie Jensen, who slowly worked her way into the rotation after an offseason knee injury, had only thrown two complete games this season.
The Morgan native went the distance in the 10-inning marathon, allowing just six hits and retiring 18 consecutive batters after a two-RBI double in the fourth inning tied the game 2-2.
Alexis Morrison singled with two outs in the top of the 10th to break up Jensen’s streak before the senior got Ashley Doyle to fly out to the track.
The reason for the delayed celebration was just as notable.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Landi Hawker and Camarero each beat out infield singles on choppers to the shortstop. Alyssa Burk, who otherwise pitched a strong 9 1/3 innings for Portland State, botched a pitch to Ashlyn Visser in what was meant to be the first pitch of an intentional walk with Hawker on third base.
Instead, the ball floated high and over the plate. Visser slapped it into center field and Hawker jogged home to win the contest — except PSU applied a force-tag to first base on the throw from the outfield, appealing that Visser never touched the bag on her game-ending hit.
After a conference, the umpires agreed, called Visser out and the game proceeded to the ninth inning.
While Camarero and Jensen earned their kudos, it was White who broke the mold to make a difference.
Before the 10th inning, all six of Weber’s hits came from the top third of the order: Takesha Saltern had two, Hawker one and Camarero three. But White, the bottom of the order, drilled the first pitch she saw to lead off the 10th, roping it down the left field line for a leadoff double.
That set up Camarero’s game-winning single.
The win was the 700th career head-coaching victory for Mary Kay Amicone. After 81 wins as the first Division-I head coach at BYU, Amicone racked up 433 at Salt Lake Community College before now reaching 186 at Weber State with Wednesday’s victory.
The decision also ended Portland State’s day with a 1-1 record in 21 innings. The Vikings beat host Sacramento State 2-1 in 11 innings to open the tournament Wednesday morning, the longest game in Big Sky tournament history.
Weber State claimed the all-important first-round win in the double-elimination tournament. A loss would have required the ‘Cats to win five games over the next three days. Instead, WSU needs just two more wins to claim the championship.
WSU advances to the semifinals where it will face the winner of Idaho State and Northern Colorado at 5 p.m. MDT Thursday. A win would give WSU Friday off and put them one win away from the NCAA Tournament.