North Ogden Jr. High takes back this title after 35 years.
Coach Lisa Howell described the North Ogden Jr. High Softball championship game against Wahlquist Jr. High as insane! It was a cold sunny day, and the game was held at the Weber State softball field. Leading up to that game, Wahlquist hadn’t lost once in 22 games. The combination of the crowd and their dugout cheering created an amped-up and ultra-supportive atmosphere for their girls. Even though the crowd energy was directed towards Whalquist, the North Ogden Team came out strong and scored 4 runs in the first inning with the help of a homerun by Kendall Strasburg who pitched the game.
Howell described the next three innings as a defensive battle. North Ogden’s defense had zero errors, and no one from Wahlquist got past 2nd base. “At the top of the fifth inning, our bats went crazy and we scored 13 runs with a home run by Kaidyn Mueller,” and they won the game 17 to 0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The mercy rule ended the game after the fifth inning because NOJH scored more than ten runs after five innings.
Howell attributes the success of the team to the skill, attitudes, and love of the game each player brought to the table. “They showed up, were focused, and had fun within the bounds of the game. They were solid!” Howell said their girls were the best teammates she has seen in all her years of coaching and playing. All the girls, especially the ones who stayed mostly in the dugout, set a really positive tone for the entire season. She said the girls only had good things to say to and about each other and that made a big difference out on the field. “Our team was just magical this year!”
Howell also emphasized how coachable their girls were. She said the girls typically responded with “I’ll do whatever you want, Coach,” or “I’m ready, Coach,” when Howell or the other coaches gave directions. Sometimes they asked the girls to switch positions or change things up to optimize their chances of winning. The coaches’ good directions coupled with a coachable team obviously worked out wonderfully.
Howell said she and the two assistant coaches brought various skills that to the table that made their coaching staff whole. Janette Blaisdell brought a lot of knowledge from what she learned playing college ball as a catcher. Jennifer Jensen played through high school and she gave amazing motivational pregame speeches to the team. Blaisdell said the girls really respect Coach Howell and that seems to motivate them to play harder. “She keeps the girls’ needs in mind, organizes practices with purpose, and she is smart with decisions. She is encouraging, fun, and positive and reminds them they are student athletes. How they’re doing in school is more important than the sport.”
A week after they won, the Weber State softball field dirt was replaced. Thanks to a community donor, the dirt they won on will replace the damaged grass on the North Ogden Jr. High infield. Next fall ,the team will be playing on the same soil on which they took back the title of Weber School District Champions after 35 years. Congratulations, Lady Knights!