For Weber State softball, Arissa Henderson gets her MVP after all | News, Sports, Jobs

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to Standard Examiner

Weber State pitcher Arissa Henderson prepares to pitch during the Big Sky Tournament Championship game against Sacramento State on Saturday, May 14, 2022 in Ogden. (BRIAN WOLFER, Special to Standard Examiner)

OGDEN — The inner workings of college conference award processes can vary across the country, from how coaches place their votes, who is nominated for each award, and who is ultimately chosen to receive the honors.

Regardless of the process, it was remarkably peculiar that Weber State softball — which, regardless of how it finished this week’s Big Sky Conference tournament, had already set all-time records for best overall winning percentage and the best regular-season conference winning percentage in conference history – either way, no player has won Player of the Year or pitcher of the year.

An obvious choice for either was Arissa Henderson, WSU senior, BYU transfer and former West Coast Conference pitcher of the year in 2019 who received the Newcomer Award from the year of Big Sky.

At the end of the regular season, Henderson was 14-1 in the circle to go with a Big Sky-best 2.04 ERA and, at the plate, hit .333 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in just mid- weather. She hit a home run once in nine at bat.

She didn’t win any of the regular season grand prizes – though that’s probably now more of an irritation than a kind of genuine, gnawing vexation.

That’s because Weber State finished the job strong to hoist a second tag team championship trophy this season, beating Idaho State 10-0 and Sacramento State 9-0, 8-0 to win the conference tournament and head on. to the NCAA Tournament with a 38-10 record.

Henderson won the first and last of those matches in the circle. In 10 innings, she allowed eight hits, no runs (obviously), struck out five and walked one. His pitching record for the season is now 16-1 and his ERA is 1.88.

“I was pretty comfortable the whole time,” Henderson said of Saturday’s performance. “I know I have good people behind me…and we have great hitters, I know we’re going to create runs. So, from the start, I was quite confident.

At plate this week, she hit 3-for-8 with five RBIs, scored three runs and hit a grand slam against Idaho State. His season average at home plate is now .338, to go with nine home runs and 28 RBIs.

As good as she was on Wednesday against Idaho State, she was even better on Saturday to win the title against Sacramento State. She allowed only two base runners in five innings, one of which reached when an infield fly was lost in the sun, and only two balls went out of the infield. Henderson induced 11 groundouts, two soft fielders on the field and a flyout on the field, while striking back one.

Head coach Mary Kay Amicone said she knew from the first inning Saturday that Henderson was going to bring the goods.

“Even at home plate, before she had the chance to pitch, she stayed to herself and had a great batting. She’s this low-key competitor, this humble competitor, it’s just like, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to make sure our team wins and is successful,’” Amicone said.

Henderson pitched a full game in Weber State’s season opener, a 5-1 win over Fordham on Feb. 11 in which she allowed five hits and struck out 10. Fordham won the championship of the Atlantic 10 Softball Tournament on Saturday and has won 30 games this season.

She pitched a full game on one hit against Texas A&M, a 2-1 win in which she struck out seven. A&M, of the cash-bloated SEC, went 29-26 this season.

His only loss in the circle came at Utah, a 5-1 loss in which WSU’s only run was Henderson’s solo home run. Utah was 27-27 this season and hopes to hear its name called for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Henderson pitched a full eight innings in a 4-3 win over San Diego State, striking out five and going for eight hits while allowing two earned runs. San Diego State won the Mountain West Conference (which is not contesting a conference tournament) and went 37-14 this season.

All of those non-conference wins are paramount to the NCAA Tournament seeding Weber State will receive.

For his two games this week, Henderson was able to walk to the middle of the interior court on Saturday afternoon for individual equipment. She was named the tournament’s MVP.

Finally, Henderson received an official nod for the impact she has had this season. In her only season at Weber State, she won’t climb very high in the record rankings, but she will go away as one of the best ever for the Wildcats.

“She’s an amazing person. Very calm, very humble. But just ice in her veins,” Amicone said of Henderson in March. loves every challenge, she loves to play, and our team has embraced her and she’s coming with us.


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