All-American Ellessa Bonstrom Reflects On Utah Softball’s Come-Up

May 16, 2023, 1:52 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – All-American Ellessa Bonstrom joined DJ and PK to reflect on the crazy come-up she and her teammates with Utah softball have experienced.

Preseason media votes had the Utes finishing ninth in the Pac-12 for 2023. However, Utah had a different idea, winning the first-ever Pac-12 Tournament and earning their first conference title since joining the league in 2011.

The surrealness of the No. 12 Utes’ accomplishments didn’t stop there either. On Sunday, the ladies gathered together to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. Not only did Utah make it in, but they get to play host this weekend at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium.

The Best Feeling

Out of all the feelings Utah softball has experienced in the last 96 or so hours, Bonstrom says being gathered with her teammates watching the Selection Show and finding out they would be hosting the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament is hard to beat.

“We’ve been waiting for that moment since last year,” Bonstrom said. “To see that we not only made postseason, but we get to host- that was really something so special for this team. Honestly, yeah, I’d have to say that is one of the best moments I’ve had with this team.”

Going In With No Fear

Utah was six games behind UCLA going into the Pac-12 Tournament, but that didn’t matter in that setting. All the Utes had to do was win the games in front of them in order to claim the title, and according to Bonstrom, that’s exactly what they did.

“The team, we all believed in ourselves,” Bonstrom said. “No matter what opposing team it was, we were going to win. Saturday was a tough day for us. We lost two of our starters that went down and we had to regroup. We decided that we were going to play for those girls that no longer get to play. It was a really cool moment that we all got to share together, and we came out on top which was unbelievable. I’m so proud of this team.”

A Family Affair

Bonstrom hails from Tucson, Arizona which was the host site for the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament and made it easy for her brother, who plays baseball, to see her play collegiately for the first time.

“What is so cool is my brother was able to make it out,” Bonstrom said. “That was actually his first time seeing me play college softball because he plays college baseball, and our seasons are at the same time. He finished up before our season ended so he was able to fly out and watch me play. It was very special to have family and friends there watching me.”

Why Utah?

Bonstrom could have gone just about anywhere she wanted to play college softball but picked Utah largely because of how head coach Amy Hogue and her staff conduct themselves and care about their athletes.

“Honestly, I loved the coaching staff that we have,” Bonstrom said. “Coach A. is just a phenomenal woman and a coach who really supports us and wants the best for us. Coach D.J. and coach Paige came in a couple of years afterward, but they have transformed this program into what is it now. I picked Utah for the softball program that they have, but also, the state of Utah is so beautiful. There is so much to do here and for me, being from Arizona, it’s a quick flight home if I ever needed. It’s close to home, but still far away from home.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports


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All-American Ellessa Bonstrom Reflects On Utah Softball’s Come-Up