Jan. 22, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. - Three years ago, Saint Martin's, which had never previously had a winning season in softball, was coming off a 9-30 campaign.
How things have changed since then for the Saints.
After posting a 33-18-1 record in 2012, SMU won 41 of 57 games last year under third-year coach Rick Noren earning its first GNAC title and NCAA post-season berth.
The Saints then won two of their four games in the NCAA sub-regional eventually being eliminated by West Region champion Humboldt State.
This year they are overwhelming favorites to win their second consecutive GNAC title and perhaps make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
The Saints received all seven first-place votes in the GNAC Coaches' pre-season poll receiving a perfect score of 49. Central Washington, which finished fourth last year, was a distant second with 33 points
If you look at the Saints roster and what their returning players accomplished, the poll results should not be a surprise.
Though they don't have the most returning players in the GNAC (in fact, they rank just fifth in that category), they certainly make up for the lack of quantity with quality.
Among nine returnees are arguably the league's best two players - second baseman Lacey McGladrey and pitcher-shortstop Sam Munger.
"Both Sam and Lacey had outstanding years last season and we are excited to see if they can improve on their performances this year," said Noren, who has a 485-209-1 record in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach including 83-64-1 in three years with the Saints.
McGladrey was the GNAC's Player of the Year and earned first team NFCA and second team Daktronics All-American honors batting .397.
Her average ranked second in the league in back of Munger, who won the batting title with a .426 average,
McGladrey, meanwhile, led the GNAC in on-base percentage with a .459 average and she was also the league leader in runs scored with 65 - 23 more than anyone else in the conference. She also ranked second in stolen bases with 18.
Munger was a star, regardless, of where she played earning second team NFCA and Daktronics second team all-region honors.
As a shortstop, she won the conference batting title by 29 points and led the league in hits with 84. She'll take a 26-game hitting streak, the 18th longest in Division II history, into the 2014 season.
In the circle, she earned GNAC Pitcher of the Year honors leading the conference in wins with 24 and finishing second in ERA (2.51).
Even with McGladrey and Munger, the Saints rank as one of the younger clubs in the GNAC. Only five of its 20 players are upper classmen and 10 of them are freshmen.
McGladrey, the lone senior, is joined by four juniors - Munger, outfielders Taviah Jenkins and Dani Wall and transfer Maria Roney, a two-year starter at Division I Fairleigh Dickinson.
"Taviah and Dani both had outstanding regional tournaments and we look forward to them carrying over that confidence into this season," Noren said. "We'll also be looking for several of the freshmen to have an impact."
Roney joins the Saints after hitting .286 and driving in 42 runs in 96 games at Farleigh Dickinson.
"Maria will help strengthen our catching position and will be a fantastic vocal leader on the field," Noren said.
Central Washington, which won back-to-back GNAC titles in 2010 and 2011, returns a league-best 15 letter winners and six all-stars, led by second baseman Jill McDaniels and outfielder Remy Bradley.
McDaniels batted .327 last season and tied for the GNAC lead for most home runs with 10 in earning GNAC Newcomer of the Year honors.
Bradley was the conference's fifth best hitter (.370) and was selected the GNAC Freshman of the Year.
Central Washington finished three points ahead of Western Oregon in the coaches' poll.
The Wolves return 12 lettermen led by outfielder Amanda Evola, who ranked third in batting (.390) and was a second team Daktronics all-region selection, and pitcher-third baseman Jourdan Williams who batted .321 and led the team in RBIs (45).
Simon Fraser edged Western Washington by one point to earn the No. 4 pre-season ranking.
The Clans top returning player is pitcher Kelsie Hawkins, who led the GNAC in shutouts (8) and strikeouts (145), in earning first team all-conference honors.
Hawkins' status for the 2014 season, however, is unsure due to an injury.
Levin ranked ninth last year in the GNAC in hitting (.333) and finished 10th in earned run average (3.77), while Walley batted .314 and led the Vikings with six home runs. She also had 25 RBI, one behind Levin who led the team.
Montana State Billings, which won the GNAC title two years ago, and Northwest Nazarene complete the coaches' poll finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
The Yellowjackets return 14 players, the second most in the league, and five all-conference players including catcher Brittney Sanders, who was a first team selection.
MSUB's eight returning position starters ties CWU for the most in the conference and they also have five pitchers who made seven or more starts.
Northwest Nazarene won just five games a year ago and was winless in 24 GNAC contests. But second-year head coach Rich Wagner added three JC all-stars including catcher-outfielder Gatalina Schuster, who was a first team NWAACC selection at Lower Columbia.
2014 GNAC Coaches Poll 2013 Records Pts
1. Saint Martin's (7) 41-16 (18-6, 1st) 49 2. Central Washington 20-20 (13-11, 4th) 33 3. Western Oregon 27-22 (16-8, 2nd) 30 4. Simon Fraser 30-23 (15-9, 3rd) 27 5. Western Washington 23-23 (12-12, 5th) 26 6. Montana State Billings 12-29 (10-14, 5th) 20 7. Northwest Nazarene 5-39 (0-24, 7th) 11 (Note: First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).
Most of Top Players Return for 2014 Season
Almost all of last year's top hitters, including eight who finished the season in the Top 10 in average, return for the 2014 season.
Saint Martin's (Munger, 1st, and McGladrey, 2nd) and Central Washington (Bradley, 5th, and Maikala Galusha, 9th, .333) each have two back from the Top 10.
Also returning from last year's Top 10 are WOU's Evola (3rd), Galusha and WWU's Levin, who tied for ninth with .333 averages, SFU catcher Kaitlyn Cameron, who ranked seventh with a .342 average and MSU Billings second baseman Aubrey Conceicao, who finished eighth (.336) and was the toughest player in Division II to strike out fanning just once in 119 official at bats and 135 plate appearances.
In all 16 of last year's 22 .300 hitters are back including five from Central Washington, three from MSU Billings, and two each from Saint Martin's, Western Oregon, Simon Fraser and Western Washington.
Seven of the 11 pitchers who had sub 4.00 ERAs also are back led by Maria Gau of Central Washington who led the GNAC with a 2.20 ERA, Munger, Hawkins who ranked fourth (2.77), Jenna DeRosier (7th, 3.39) and Levin of Western Washington, Jessyka MacDonald of Montana State Billings who ranked ninth (3.50) and paced the GNAC in strikeouts per seven innings for the second year in a row (10.12 in 2012 and 7.39 in 2013) and Jourdan Williams of Western Oregon (11th, 3.78) who also earned first team all-conference honors at third base by batting .321, hitting eight home runs and driving in 45.
Additions From Division I
Four players with Division I experience will be among the newcomers this spring in the GNAC.
Leading that group is the Saints' Roney who banged out 22 doubles and hit six home runs at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Central Washington added two D1 players but both saw very limited playing time.
Utility player Bailee Wetmore played in five games at Troy, but had just one official at bat.
Catcher-infielder Austin Wilkerson, also had just one plate appearance in one game at Hawaii.
Western Oregon added pitcher-outfielder Kelli Demianew, who had seven hits in 35 at bats three years ago at Seattle University.
Another four-year transfer is pitcher Jessica Goulet from Cambridge, Ont.
She'll play at Simon Fraser after spending her freshman season at Southwestern Oklahoma, where she was winless in six decisions.
From the Junior College Ranks
Outfielder Autumn Isaacson will join Western Washington this spring after winning NWAACC Northern Region MVP honors at Bellevue CC where she batted .476 and had five home runs and 35 RBI.
She is one of three first team NWAACC all-conference players joining GNAC teams this spring.
The other two are Schuster at Northwest Nazarene and outfielder Brandy Knowles at Western Oregon.
Schuster batted .435 at Lower Columbia, providing power (8 home runs) and run-producing ability (44 rbi). Knowles hit .423 and had six home runs and 49 RBI at Walla Walla.
Second team JC all-stars new to the GNAC are pitcher -outfielder Justine Callen and outfielder Whitney Carlton at Northwest Nazarene and Simon Fraser catcher-outfielder Kadieann Tighe.
Callen batted .400 and had six home runs and 16 RBI and also posted a 2-4 record in the circle at Clackamas two years ago before redshirting last season.
Carlton was a Region 18 second team selection at College of Southern Idaho where she hit .377 and had five home runs and five RBI.
Tighe joins Simon Fraser after earning second team Mid-Florida JC honors at Daytona State.
GNAC Softball Season Starts Feb. 1
Three GNAC teams open their respective seasons Feb. 1 in California and Hawaii.
Saint Martin's travels to southern California to face Cal Baptist on Feb. 1 and Cal State San Bernardino on Feb. 2, while Western Oregon opens a four-game series at UC San Diego on the first.
Western Washington is in Hawaii for four consecutive twinbills beginning on the first against BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Hilo, Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade, respectively.
Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings make their debuts on Feb. 4 at Dixie State and Menlo, respectively.
MSUB will also play Hawaii Hilo in Las Vegas on the fifth before hosting the MSUB Desert Stinger in Las Vegas Feb. 7-9.
That tournament will feature 32 Division II teams including the Yellowjackets, Central Washington, Northwest Nazarene, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon and Western Washington.
All seven GNAC schools will compete in the Cal State Stanislaus Tournament of Champions Apr. 4-6.
Following a 24-game conference slate, four of the seven will earn berths in the GNAC Championship tournament May 1-3 in Richland, Wash., with an automatic berth in the NCAA regionals up for grabs.
SAINT MARTIN'S SAINTS
Projected Finish: #1
Lacey McGladrey (5-4, Sr., Bothell, WA) became just the third player in GNAC history to earn NFCA first team All-American honors last season and takes a .376 career average, the 15th best in conference history, into her senior season.
Sam Munger (5-6, Jr., Everett, WA - Cascade), meanwhile, is on the way to posting some of the most impressive career totals in GNAC history.
She ranks third all-time in batting (.419) and her victory total (40-16) with two seasons remaining is nearly halfway to the GNAC all-time record of 89 by Erin Martin of Seattle University (2005-08).
She'11 split a majority of the pitching innings this year with Kaylee Lawson (5-7, So., Snohomish, WA - Glacier Peak), who allowed just one run in six innings last year and was limited to three appearances because of injuries.
Three other Saints earned honorable mention GNAC honors last year - outfielders Taviah Jenkins (5-8, Jr., Castle Rock, WA) and Dani Wall (5-9, Jr., Bucoda, WA - Tenino) and third baseman Megan Miller (5-3, So., Everett, WA - Cascade).
Jenkins batted .294 and had eight home runs and 33 RBI, while Wall batted .275 with five home runs and 38 RBIs, ranking third on the team in the latter category.
Miller hit .245. Also back is Christina DeMar (5-6, So., Elma, WA) who started 27 games as the designated player, nine behind the plate and one at third base.
Head Coach: Rick Noren, Western Washington '87 (83-64-1, 3 years; Overall, 485-209-1, 17 years) Assistants: Leanne Noren 2013 Record: 41-16 Conference: 18-6, 1st Returning Letter Winners: 9 Returning Starters (5 position, 1 position/pitcher): Lacey McGladrey (2B, 5-4, Sr., .397, 8 hr, 33 rbi, 1st team NFCA All-American, 2nd team Daktronics All- American, GNAC Player of the Year); Sam Munger (P-SS, 5-6, Jr., .426, 4 hr, 41 rbi, 24-9, 2.51, 2nd team NFCA & Daktronics All-Region, GNAC Pitcher of the Year, 1st team SS); Taviah Jenkins (OF, 5-8, Jr., .294, 8 hr, 33 rbi, HM GNAC); Dani Wall (OF, 5-9, Jr., .275, 5 hr, 38 rbi, HM GNAC); Megan Miller (3B, 5-3, So., .245, 1 hr, 15 rbi, HM GNAC); Christina DeMar (C, 5-6, So., .167, 3 hr, 15 rbi) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): None Transfers: Maria Roney (C-OF, 5-9, Jr., Anacortes, WA. 2-year starter at Division I Fairleigh Dickinson, .286, 22 doubles, 6 HRs, 42 RBI in 96 games)
CENTRAL WASHINGTON WILDCATS
Projected Finish: #2
With six of its top seven hitters returning, including five .300 hitters, the Wildcats could improve on last year's .298 team average which ranked second in back of the Saints league-high .309 mark.
Head coach Mallory Holtman-Fletcher begins her fourth season (73-65) with league-highs for letter winners (15), all-conference players (6) and position starters (8).
In addition to 2013 GNAC Newcomer of the Year Jill McDaniels (5-8, Sr., Walla Walla, WA - WWCC) and Freshman of the Year Remy Bradley (5-2, So., Richland, WA - Hanford), the Wildcats also have available three second team all-GNAC selections - shortstop Andrea Hamada (5-4, So., Walla Walla, WA), outfielder Michaela Hazlett (5-4, So., Purcell, OK) and GNAC ERA leader Maria Gau.
Hamada batted .319 and drove in 20 runs, while Hazlett hit .308 and plated 15 runs. Gau (2.20 ERA) was 9-13 in the circle and struck out 104 batters.
First baseman Maikala Galusha (5-10, Sr., Battle Ground, WA - Mt. Hood CC) was an honorable mention selection batting .333 and driving in 24 runs. She ranked third on the team in home runs with five.
Other starters back are third baseman-catcher Alexa Olague (5-6, So., Tacoma, WA - Wilson), who hit .283, and outfielder Shelby Yasuda (5-3, Jr., Woodinville, WA), who batted .239.
Letter winner Rachel O'Neill (5-7, So., Kirkland, WA - Juanita), seven freshmen and two Division I transfers - utility Bailee Wetmore (5-2, So., Everett, WA) from Troy and Austin Wilkerson (5-5, So., Ferndale, WA - Sehome) from Hawaii - are also available.
Head Coach: Mallory Holtman-Fletcher, Central Washington '08 (73-65, 3 years) Assistants: Gary Frederick, Mike Garoutte, Kelli Spaulding, Cassi Ellis 2013 Record: 20-20 Conference: 13-11, 4th Returning Letter Winners: 15 Returning Starters (8 position, 1 pitcher): Jill McDaniels (2B, 5-8, Sr., .327, 10 hr, 42 rbi, 2nd team Daktronics All-Region, 1st team GNAC IF, GNAC Newcomer of the Year); Remy Bradley (OF, 5-2, So., .370, 0 hr, 3 rbi, 1st team GNAC, GNAC Freshman of the Year); Andrea Hamada (SS, 5-4, So., .319, 1 hr, 20 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Michaela Hazlett (OF, 5-4, So., .308, 1 hr, 15 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Maria Gau (P, 5-7, Sr., 9-13, 2.20, 2nd team GNAC); Maikala Galusha (1B, 5-10, Sr., .333, 5 hr, 24 rbi, HM GNAC); Alexa Olague (3B-C, 5-6, So., .283, 2 hr, 5 rbi); Shelby Yasuda (OF, 5-3, Jr., .239, 0 hr, 5 rbi) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Rachel O'Neill (OF, 5-7, So., .194, 0 hr, 2rbi) Transfers: Bailee Wetmore (UT, 5-2, So., Everett, WA, 0 for 1 in five games at Division I Troy); Austin Wilkerson (C-IF, 5-5, So., Ferndale, WA - Sehome, 0-1 in 1 game at Division I Hawaii)
WESTERN OREGON WOLVES
Projected Finish: #3
Lonny Sargent led WOU to a 16-8 conference record in his first season as head coach - the Wolves' third best winning percentage in 12 seasons in the GNAC - before sustaining back-to-back 3-2 losses in the conference post-season tournament.
Six of the team's top eight hitters return this spring including first team GNAC selections Amanda Evola (5-7, Jr., Beaverton, OR) and Jourdan Williams (5-8, Jr., McMinnville, OR).
Evola led the GNAC in slugging (.677), ranked third in the conference in hitting (.390) and also tied CWU's McDaniel for the home run lead (10) and SMU's McGladrey for the lead in doubles (22).
She also drove in 44 runs one less than team leader Williams, who batted .321 and hit eight home runs in addition to posting a 9-11 record and 3.78 ERA in the circle.
Catcher-third baseman Melanie Pfeiffer (5-3, Sr., Reno, NV - Western Nevada), who hit .263, was also an all-conference selection earning honorable mention honors.
Five other starters return including catcher-designated player Bridjet Box (5-4, Sr., Gig Harbor, WA - Olympic), who ranked third on the team in home runs with five and RBI with 22 and hit .260 and outfielder Danielle Harcourt (5-4, Sr., St. Helens, OR), who hit .237 and drove in 21 runs.
Also among the returnees are Ashlie Gardner (5-7, Sr., Salem, OR), who started 32 games at first base and 16 at third and hit .230, outfielder Danielle Hannan (5-4, Sr., El Segundo, CA - Long Beach City), who hit .161 and pitcher Stephanie Morgan (5-4, So., Pleasant Hill, OR), who had a 2-4 record in 15 appearances, including nine starts.
Head Coach: Lonny Sargent, Warner Pacific `01 (27-26, 1 year; Overall, 58-93, 3 years) Assistants: Abigail Farler, Ally Kutz, Hannah Pomeroy 2013 Record: 27-26 Conference: 16-8, 2nd Returning Letter Winners: 12 Returning Starters (6 position, 1 position/pitcher, 1 pitcher): Amanda Evola (OF, 5- 7, Jr., .390, 10 hr, 44 rbi, 2nd team Daktronics All-Region, 1st team GNAC); Jourdan Williams (P-3B, 5-8, Jr., .321, 8 hr, 45 rbi, 9-11, 3.78, 1st team GNAC 3B); Melanie Pfeiffer (C-3B, 5-3, Sr., .263, 2 hr, 11 rbi, HM GNAC); Bridjet Box (C-DP, 5-4, Sr., .260, 5 hr, 22 rbi); Danielle Harcourt (OF, 5-4, Sr., .237, 2 hr, 21 rbi); Ashlie Gardner (1B-3B, 5-7, Sr., .230, 1 hr, 11 rbi); Danielle Hannan (OF, 5-4, Sr., .161, 0 hr, 4 rbi); Stephanie Morgan (P-DP, 5-4, So., 2-4, 5.29) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Elaine Sperry (C-IF, 5-8, So., .189. 1 hr, 8 rbi); Eryka Brill (P, 6-1, Sr., 2-3, 3.90) Transfers: Roquelyn Parker (IF-OF, 5-2, Jr., Camp Verde, AZ, .223, 1 hr, 13 rbi at Glendale CC); Brandy Knowles (OF, 5-6, Jr., Redmond, OR, 1st team NWAACC Eastern Region at Walla Walla, .423, 6 hr, 49 rbi)' Kelli Demianew (P-OF, 5-10, Jr., Pendleton, OR - 7 for 35 at Seattle University in 2011)
SIMON FRASER CLAN
Projected Finish: #4
Simon Fraser finished second in the GNAC two years ago and third last season and was in the title chase until the final weekend both times.
The Clan, however, has just five returning starters, the fewest of any team in the GNAC, and will be without pitching ace Kelsie Hawkins (5-8, Sr., Victoria, BC - Oak Bay), who posted a 17-8 record and 2.77 ERA, for at least the first month of the season and perhaps longer.
Hawkins is the lone returning first team all-conference player for coach Mike Renney, who begins his 20th season in Burnaby with a 557-224 career record.
Two other returnees were honorable mention GNAC selections.
Catcher Kaitlyn Cameron (5-9, Jr., Langley, BC - Walnut Grove) led the Clan in batting (.342) and RBI (31) and also hit five home runs, while shortstop Danielle Raison (5-7, Jr., Langley, BC - Garibaldi) batted .306 and ranked second in RBI (28). She also tied Cameron for the second most home runs on the team.
First baseman Alex Baylak (5-7, So., Regina, SK - Campbell Collegiate) and catcher - designated player Mackenzie Bender (5-11, So., St. Albert, AB - Paul Kane) also return from last year's starting unit. Baylak batted .262 an matched Cameron and Raison's home run totals. Bender hit .183 and had 16 RBI.
Other returnees who saw significant playing time include infielder Stephanie Caron (5-5, So., Delta, BC - Seaquam), outfielder Rachel Proctor (5-9, So., Surrey, BC - Clayton Heights) and catcher-designated player Nichole Ratel (6-0, So., Langley, BC - Walnut Grove).
Head Coach: Mike Renney, Simon Fraser `94 (557-224, 19 years) Assistants: Leah Riske, Rosie Murphy, Carly Lepoutre 2013 Record: 30-23 Conference: 15-9, 3rd Returning Letter Winners: 8 Returning Starters (4 position, 1 pitcher): Kelsie Hawkins (P, 5-8, Sr., 2.77, 17-8, 1st team GNAC); Kaitlyn Cameron (C, 5-9, Jr., .342, 5 hr, 31 rbi, HM GNAC); Danielle Raison (SS, 5-7, Jr., .306, 5 hr, 28 rbi, HM GNAC); Alex Baylak (1B, 5-7, So., .262, 5 hr, 24 rbi); Mackenzie Bender (C-DP, 5-11, So., .183, 2 hr, 16 rbi; 2- 1, 5.25) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Stephanie Caron (2B-3B, 5- 5, So, .258, 0 hr, 4 rbi); Rachel Proctor (OF, 5-9, So., .238, 0 hr, 7 rbi); Nicole Ratel (C-DP, 6-0, So., .235, 2 hr, 11 rbi) Transfers: Jessica Goulet (P, 5-9, So., Cambridge, ON; 0-6, 6.65 ERA at Southwestern Oklahoma); Kadieann Tighe (C-OF, 5-7, Jr., Okatoks, AB, 2nd team Mid-Florida JC at Daytona State)
WESTERN WASHINGTON VIKINGS
Projected Finish: #5
Amy Suiter starts her fourth season with a solid corps group of 13 letter winners, including seven starters.
The Vikings posted a 23-23 record last season and were 12-12 in the GNAC, missing the playoffs by just one game.
Levin ranked second on the team in hitting (.333) and was the team leader in RBI (26). She also led WWU in the circle in wins posting a 10-7 record and a 3.77 ERA.
Walley batted .313 and slammed a team-high six home runs, while driving in 25 runs.
Outfielder Kaleigh Keating (5-4, Sr., Salinas, CA - Notre Dame Salinas) batted .275 and led the conference in stolen bases with 21. She was caught just once, posting the second highest percentage in GNAC history for players with at least 20 steals.
Third baseman Cheyenne Best (5-6, Jr., Big Lake, WA - Sedro-Woolley), shortstop Haylee Baker (5-4, Sr., Poulsbo, WA - Bainbridge & Bellevue CC), outfielder Meghan Carrillo (5-3, Sr., Prunedale, CA - North Monterey County) and pitcher Jenna DeRosier (5-7, Sr., Kelso, WA) are also back
Carrillo batted .275 last season, while Best and Baker hit .250 and 228, respectively. DeRosier had a 8-10 record and 3.39 ERA in the circle.
The Vikings have perhaps the top newcomer from the JC ranks in outfielder Autumn Isaacson (5-5, Jr., Lake Stevens, WA) who batted .476 at Bellevue CC to earn Northern Region MVP honors.
Head Coach: Amy Suiter (76-75, 3 years; Overall, 91-117, 4 years) Assistants: Jessica Ventoza, Dave Hanson, Dustin Suiter 2013 Record: 23-23 Conference: 12-12, 5th Returning Letter Winners: 13 Returning Starters (6 position, 1 pitcher): Alexie Levin (P-1B, 5-7, So., .333, 2 hr, 26 rbi, 1st team GNAC); Jordan Walley (DP, 6-2, So., .314, 6 hr, 25 rbi, 1st team DP); Kaleigh Keating (OF, 5-4, Sr., .275, 2 hr, 11 rbi); Cheyenne Best (3B, 5- 6, Jr., .250, 1 hr, 16 rbi); Haylee Baker (SS, 5-4, Sr., .228, 1 hr, 13 rbi); Meghan Carrillo (OF, 5-3, Sr., .275, 1 hr, 10 rbi); Jenna DeRosier (P, 5-7, Sr., 8-10, 3.39) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Allie Crowe (OF, 5-7, Jr., .229, 0 hr, 3 rbi) Transfers: Autumn Isaacson (OF, 5-5, Jr., Lake Stevens, WA, NWAACC Northern Region MVP at Bellevue CC, .476, 5 hr, 35 rbi)
MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
Projected Finish: #6
After winning the conference title in 2012, the Yellowjackets slumped to fifth place last season, but still have the GNAC's all-time best winning percentage in conference games (.615) among current active members including a 54-30 record in 2 ½ seasons under Lisa Allen.
They also start the season with the most returning starters, 13 including five pitchers who accounted for every inning in the circle a year ago.
MSUB also returns three .300 hitters - the second most in the league - and five all-conference players which ties Saint Martin's for the second most.
Catcher Brittney Sanders (5-6, Jr., Kelso, WA) batted .330 last season in earning first team GNAC honors. Two players - second baseman Aubrey Conceicao (5-3, Jr., Temecula, CA - Great Oaks) and first baseman Emily Osborn (5-8, Jr., Las Vegas, NV - Bonanza) were second team selections.
Conceicao led MSUB in hitting (.336) and RBI (26) and did it while striking out just once in 119 at bats, leading Division II in fewest strikeouts per at bat. Osborn batted .325 and had a team high five home runs and 23 RBI.
Third baseman Taylor Hoke (5-2, Jr., Chehalis, WA - Adna) and pitcher Jessyka MacDonald (5-8, Jr., Billings, MT - West) were honorable mention picks. Hoke hit .293 and MacDonald posted a 5-4 record and 3.50 ERA.
Other returning starters include outfielders Cori Gammon (5-4, So., Sparks, NV - Reed), Katie Schermele (5-8, So., Great Falls, OR) and Breanna Wilson (5-5, Sr., Yelm, WA - Bellevue CC), shortstop Samantha Jo Everett (5-2, Sr., Roseville, CA - SW Oregon) and pitchers Mary Grace Bywater (5-8, Jr., Tualatin, OR), Amanda Todd (5-5, Sr., Billings, MT - Skyview) and Amanda Roark (5-8, So., Las Vegas, NV - Southeast Career and Tech Academy),
Of that group, Schermele and Bywater had the best numbers. Schermele batted .262 and had three home runs and 13 RBI. Bywater ranked second on the team in wins (4) and ERA (5.01) in back of MacDonald.
Head Coach: Lisa Allen, Oregon State (66-56, 3 years) Assistants: Rebekah (Tsatsa) Gasner 2013 Record: 12-29 Conference: 10-14, 5th Returning Letter Winners: 14 Returning Starters (8 position, 5 pitchers): Brittney Sanders (C, 5-6, Jr., .330, 1 hr, 14 rbi, 1st team GNAC); Aubrey Conceicao (2B, 5-3, Jr., .336, 2 hr, 26 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Emily Osborn (1B, 5-8, Jr., .325, 5 hr, 23 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Taylor Hoke (3B, 5-2, Jr., .293, 0 hr, 3 rbi, HM GNAC); Jessyka MacDonald (P, 5-8, Jr., 5-4, 3.50, HM GNAC); Cori Gammon (OF, 5-4, So., .204, 0 hr, 7 rbi); Katie Schermele (OF, 5-8, So., .272, 3 hr, 13 rbi); Breanna Wilson (OF, 5-5, Sr., .194, 0 hr, 7 rbi); Samantha Jo Everett (SS, 5-2, Sr., .148, 0 hr, 3 rbi); Mary Grace Bywater (P, 5-8, Jr., 4-5, 5.01); Amanda Todd (P, 5-5, Sr., 2-8, 5.08); Amanda Roark (P, 5-8, So., 0-6, 6.45); Jessica Campbell (P, 5-7, Jr., 1-6, 9.26) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Caryn Perrigo (3B, 5-2, So., .189, 1 hr, 4 rbi) Transfers: None
Projected Finish: #7
Rich Wagner begins his second season at Northwest Nazarene, but the first in which he really had an opportunity to recruit after being hired in July, 2012.
The Crusaders return just eight players including six starters off last year's team that was winless in 24 GNAC contests.
Two of the returnees did earn honorable mention GNAC honors a year ago - third baseman Brianna Kinghorn (5-6, So., Meridian, ID - Mountain View), who led the team in hitting (.270), home runs (5) and RBI (18) and pitcher Noelle Wright (5-9, Jr., Irrigon, OR), who pitched all but 38 2/3 of the team's innings in 2013
Also back are second baseman Kendra Day (5-5, Jr., Portland, OR - Westview), shortstop Kayla Sevier (5-6, Jr., Nine Mile Falls, WA - Lakeside), outfielder Shelby Johnson (5-7, Jr., Soda Springs, ID) and Kira Varady (5-6, So., Bremerton, WA - Olympic), who split her time between first and third base.
Day hit .256 for the Crusaders, while Sevier, Johnson and Varady hit .239. 237 and .207, respectively. Johnson and Varady also had five and four home runs, respectively.
Among Wagner's recruiting class are three JC all-stars - pitcher Justine Callen (5-9, Jr., Oregon City, OR) from Clackamas, outfielder Whitney Carlton (5-5, Jr., Kimberly, ID) from College of Southern Idaho and catcher-outfielder Gatalina Schuster (5-6, Jr., Lacey, WA) from Lower Columbia.
Another addition is utility player Rachael Michaelis (5-5, Jr., Yamhill, OR) from Treasure Valley.
Head Coach: Rich Wagner, Northwest Nazarene `99 (5-39, 1 year) Assistants: Joel Oliver 2013 Record: 5-39 Conference: 0-24, 7th Returning Letter Winners: 8 Returning Starters (5 position, 1 pitcher): Brianna Kinghorn (3B-1B, 5-6, Jr., .270, 5 hr, 18 rbi, HM GNAC); Noelle Wright (P, 5-9, Sr., 5-34, 4.55, HM GNAC); Kendra Day (2B, 5-5, Jr., .256, 0 hr, 6 rbi); Kayla Sevier (SS, 5-6, Jr., .239, 0 hr, 5 rbi); Shelby Johnson (OF, 5-7, Sr., .237, 5 hr, 15 rbi); Kira Varady (1B-3B, 5-6, Jr., .207, 4 hr, 13 rbi) Other Key Returnees (30 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Bryanna Weller (DP, 5-4, So., .212, 0 hr, 3 rbi) Transfers: Justine Callen (P, 5-9, Jr., Oregon City, OR - Clackamas, 2nd team NWAACC Southern Region); Whitney Carlton (OF, 5-5, Jr., Kimberly, ID, 2nd team Region 18 at CSI, .377, 5 hr, 45 rbi); Gatalina Schuster (C-OF, 5-6, Jr., Lacey, WA, 1st team NWAACC Southern Region at Lower Columbia, .435, 8 hr, 44 rbi); Rachael Michaelis (UT, 5-5, Jr., Yamhill, OR - Treasure Valley, .277, 6 rbi)
Softball 2017 Season in Review
Vikings win GNAC Tournament to Return to NCAA II Championships
Kasner and Labasan Earn All-Region Honors
Freshman Anna Kasner (Pitcher) and sophomore Shearyna Labasan (Utility) named All-West Region
Historic Softball Season Comes To An End
Vikings late comeback vs. Sonoma State ends up short in 6-4 loss in elimination game
Vikings Fall to Dixie State 5-0
WWU will play Sonoma State or Cal State Monterey Bay this afternoon at 4 pm in an elimination game
Vikings Rally for 5-3 Win Over Monterey Bay
WWU opens NCAA Regional play with comeback win to continue late-season surge
Three Vikings Named NFCA All-West Region
Carlie Richards (1st Team), Emily Benson (2nd Team) and Makinlee Sellevold (2nd Team) earn all-region honors
Vikings Set for NCAA II Softball Championships
WWU will face No. 1 West Region seed Cal State Monterey Bay Thursday to open tournament play
Softball Set For NCAA II Regional Trip to Monterey
Vikings are the No. 8 seed in the NCAA II West Regional and will open vs. top-seeded Cal State Monterey Bay
Softball Claims 2017 GNAC Championship
Freshman Anna Kasner fires 2-hit shutout to earn GNAC Tournament MVP honors
Vikings Advance to GNAC Title Game
WWU wins 10th straight game with Kali Patterson hitting walk-off double in bottom of 8th inning
GNAC Softball Tournament Schedule Changes
WWU will now play Saturday at 10 am vs. winner of CWU-WOU game
Vikings Open GNAC Tourney With Walk-Off Win
WWU extends winning streak to 9 consecutive games with 5-4 win over Saint Martin’s
Vikings Open Quest for GNAC Tournament Title
WWU heads into the GNAC Championships with a current 8-game winning streak
GNAC Tournament Opener Changed to 11 am
WWU will play Saint Martin's at 11 am in the opener of the 2017 GNAC Softball Championships
Five Vikings Named All-GNAC, Kasner Nets Awards
Anna Kasner named GNAC Co-Pitcher of the Year and GNAC Co-Freshman of the Year