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STORY BY STEVE SCHAACK-ISU SPORTS INFORMATION
POCATELLO, Idaho - It wasn't the way the Idaho State softball team wanted to end the season. But after a 5-3 loss to Portland State and a 5-1 loss to Southern Utah the Bengals recording breaking season came to an end with a 29-23 record.
Looking back on the program it is the records that this year's team broke that will be remembered. Not only did the Bengals win the inaugural regular season Big Sky Championship and boast the league's Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the team rewrote the softball record books at ISU. This year was the first winning season the Bengals have had since the program was brought back in 2007.
“We have opened doors for individuals and teams that will play here next year and 50-years from now,” Bengal senior Amanda Fitzsimmons said. “Coach (Wright) said we were going to be the team to make opportunities for this program and looking back on the season we did just that.”
In the loss to Portland State, the Vikings scored three runs in the top of the seventh to beat the Bengals. ISU had four hits and three errors in the game while the Vikings scored their five runs on nine hits.
Against Southern Utah, the Bengals were held to four hits once again and Kelsi Ott held SUU to six hits while striking out nine.
“I thought Kelsi pitched great,” Wright said. “I couldn't get myself to take her out because she was pitching so well and with our offense I thought we were going to get there. We didn't, but I thought she pitched great. Looking at her future and the future of our team it is exciting.”
On Southern Utah, Wright said, “Southern Utah is a really good team. That pitcher is really good and all the credit to them. We didn't play our best softball today, all day, but I am so completely proud of my team. We fought to the end because that is who we are. That is all you can ask them to do.”
The loss to Southern Utah means the recording-breaking careers of Fitzsimmons and Becky Molyneaux comes to an end. Fitzsimmons set the single-season and career home run record. She also finished at top the career record books in at bats, runs scored, RBI, walks and second in hits. Molyneaux leaves ISU has the all-time leader in steals.
“Amanda and Becky can't be replaced,” Wright said. “They are amazing women. We have huge shoes to fill and that is what great players to take with them. We still have Terah and Vicky. Maddy will be a sophomore with all that experience she has had this year as a freshman. Our pitching staff will be one more year better and our freshmen coming in our pretty darn good. I feel really good about our future.”
But while the future is bright, Wright wants to make sure this year's squad is recognized for what was accomplished in 2013.
“I can't diminish anything this club has put together,” Wright said. “They are amazing women and I was kind of along for the ride. I am honored to be their coach. I am so proud of them.”