2013 GNAC Softball Preview: Vikings picked sixth in Coaches' Poll
Jan. 23, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. - A year ago the Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball race ended in a virtual photo finish.
Montana State Billings won the conference title on the final day of the regular-season finishing one game ahead of Simon Fraser and two ahead of Saint Martin's.
All three teams figure to contend for the title once again this spring.
MSUB is the favorite to claim its third title in five seasons. The Yellowjackets earned four of the seven first-place votes in the GNAC Coaches annual pre-season poll outpointing Saint Martin's 46-41.
The Saints received the other three first-place votes. Simon Fraser finished third in the balloting with 37 points, just four fewer than SMU.
MSUB and SMU each return two first-team all-stars from a year ago.
Back for the Yellowjackets are outfielder Rose Harrington and catcher Nicole Wilkerson. They are among a league-best seven returning all-conference players for MSUB head coach Lisa Allen (54-27, 2 years).
Harrington (5-3, Sr., Missoula, MT) led the GNAC in base hits last season with 71 and was one of four .400 hitters in the league, finishing fourth with a. .401 average She also was among the league leaders in stolen bases, swiping 14.
Wilkerson (5-6, Sr., Lincoln, CA - Southwestern Oregon CC) batted .351, ending up 12th in the conference batting race.
The Yellowjackets also return two other .300 hitters - first baseman Emily Osborn (5-8, So., Las Vegas, NV - Bonanza) who batted .343 to earn second team all-conferfence accolades and third baseman Taylor Hoke (5-2, So., Chehalis, WA - Adna) who hit .340 and was an honorable mention pick. They ranked 14th and 17th, respectively in hitting in the GNAC.
Four pitchers return in the circle for MSUB including second team GNAC selections Amanda Todd (5-5, Jr., Billings, MT - Skyview, 7-4, 3.39 ERA) and Jessyka McDonald (5-8, So., Billings, MT - West, 6-3, 4.05 ERA) and honorable mention pick Mary Grace Bywater (5-8, So., Tualatin, OR, 6-4, 2.55 ERA).
Returning first-team all-conference picks for Saint Martin's are pitcher-shortstop Sam Munger and second baseman Lacey McGladrey.
Munger (5-6, So., Everett, WA - Cascade), who earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors, is the conference's top returning hitter after finishing third in the 2012 batting race with a .402 average.
She also carved out a 16-7 won-loss record and a 2.43 ERA in the circle.
McGladrey (5-4, Jr., Bothell, WA) was the GNAC's ninth best hitter last season hitting .365. She also led the conference in runs scored with 54.
Joslyn Eugenio (5-3, Sr., Kapolei, HI) also returns for the Saints after batting .351 and finishing second in the GNAC in RBI with 47 and leading the GNAC in ERA (0.93) to earn second team all-conference honors.
Also returning for Saint coach Rick Noren (42-48-1, 2 years; Overall, 444-193-1, 16 years) is GNAC Newcomer of the Year Taylor Bakos (5-4, Sr., Kennewick, WA), who had a 9-5 record and 2.32 in her first season after transferring from Columbia Basin College.
Along with Harrington, Wilkerson, Munger and McGladrey three other first team all-conference performers are also back for another season, including 2012 GNAC Pitcher of the Year Cara Lukawesky of Simon Fraser.
Lukawesky (5-10, Sr., Coquitlam, BC - Port Moody) led the GNAC in victories (21), saves (4) and shutouts (7) while finishing third in ERA (2.38), just ahead of Munger.
Simon Fraser coach Mike Renney also returns his No. 2 starter in the circle in Kelsie Hawkins (5-8, Jr., Victoria, BC - Oak Bay), who posted an 11-7 record and a 2.99 ERA in earning honorable mention honors a year ago.
Outside of the circle Renney (527-201, 18 years) returns third baseman/shortstop Carly Lepoutre (5-3, Sr., Pickering, ON - St. Mary's), who batted .327 (20th best in the GNAC) and was an honorable mention selection and outfielder Trisha Bouchard (5-6, Sr., Montreal, QC - St. Thomas) who batted .319 and had eight home runs and 30 RBI.
Returning for Central Washington, which finished fourth in the coaches' poll, is Elena Carter, a GNAC first team selection as a designated player. She batted .341 (ranking 15th in the GNAC) with six home runs and 21 RBI.
Carter (5-9, Sr., Olympia, WA - Black Hills) is one of three returning all-conference players for third-year coach Mallory Holtman-Fletcher (53-45, 2 years) along with Heidy Wells and Maria Gau.
Wells (5-6, So., Tacoma, WA - Stadium) batted .343 and hit four home runs to claim an honorable selection at third base. In the circle, Wells had a 5-9 record and 4.57 ERA.
Gau (5-7, Jr., Woodinville, WA, 11-17, 3.48 ERA) was CWU's top pitcher, tying SFU's Hawkins for third most wins, tossing the most innings (163) and striking out the most hitters (121) to earn an honorable mention on the conference all-star team.
Western Oregon, which is picked to finish fifth, returns first team all-conference outfielder Amanda Evola (5-7, So., Beaverton, OR - Westview).
She batted .378 (ranking seventh) and had eight home runs and 40 RBI.
First-year WOU coach Lonnie Sargent, who coached Utah State for two seasons, has the most returning position starters of any team in the conference with seven.
Of the seven, three were all-conference selections - Evola, shortstop Andrea Bailey (5-3, Sr., Gresham, OR - Barlow) and infielder Jourdan Williams (5-8, So., McMinnville, OR).
Bailey batted .325 in earning second team honors, while Williams, who started 19 games at third base, 15 at first base and eight as the designated player, hit .278 and was a honorable mention selection.
Neither Western Washington nor Northwest Nazarene, which came in sixth and seventh in the poll, has a returning first team all-star.
The Vikings, however, do have two 2012 second team GNAC all-conference selections in outfielder Meghan Carrillo and second baseman Cheyenne Best and also have available two former JC All-Americans in Haylee Baker and Camille DePew.
Carrillo (5-3, Jr., Prunedale, CA - North Monterey) hit .312 and drove in 18 runs for Viking coach Amy Suiter (53-52, 2 years), while Best (5-6, So., Big Lake, WA - Sedro-Woolley) batted .280.
Baker (5-4, Jr., Poulsbo, WA - Bainbridge) was the NWAACC North Region MVP at Bellevue CC last year where she hit .455 and had 13 home runs and 54 RBI in her NFCA JC All-American season.
DePew (5-9, Jr., Seattle, WA - Seattle Lutheran) had equally as impressive numbers in 2010 batting .547 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI at Shoreline CC before spending a season at North Dakota State where she participated in nine games.
Another top returnee for the Vikings is outfielder/first baseman Rachelle Berry (5-7, Sr., Alger, WA - Burlington-Edison) who hit .313 and was an honorable mention GNAC selection last season.
Northwest Nazarene's only returning all-conference player is outfielder Baylee Jolliffe (5-4, Sr., Missoula, MT), an honorable mention pick last season, when she hit .265.
First-year coach Rich Wagner did add three JC players with impressive credentials.
Green River catcher-shortstop Cassandra Duschel (5-6, Jr., Fife, WA) hit .438 and also had three home runs and 16 RBI in earning first team NWAACC all-star honors.
Treasure Valley outfielder Shelby Johnson (5-7, Jr., Soda Springs, ID) was also a first team NWAACC all-star selection after hitting .397 with power (12 home runs, 46 RBI).
Clackamas CC pitcher Noelle Wright (5-9, Jr., Irrigon, OR) earned all-tournament honors in the NWAACC post-season tournament leading her team to the tournament title.
She finished the season with an 11-2 record and a 2.24 ERA, fanning 85 batters in 87 1/3 innings.
2013 GNAC Coaches Poll 2012 Records Pts
1. Montana State Billings (4) 32-18 (25-11, 1st) 46 2. Saint Martin's (3) 33-18-1 (23-13, 3rd) 41 3. Simon Fraser 33-14, (24-12, 2nd) 37 4. Central Washington 19-29 (15-21, 5th) 24 5. Western Oregon 23-26 (19-17, 4th) 20 6. Western Washington 17-36 (13-23, 6th) 18 7. Northwest Nazarene 8-37 (7-29, 7th) 10 (Note: First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).
In addition to WWU's two JC All-Americans and Northwest Nazarene's three transfers, several other transfers could make an impact in the GNAC this spring. They include:
Central Washington: The Wildcats may have gotten a power boost with their additions of second baseman Jill McDaniels (5-8, Jr., Walla Walla, WA) from Walla Walla CC and first baseman Maikala Galusha (5-11, Jr., Battle Ground, WA) from Mt. Hood. Both were first team NWAACC all-stars. McDaniels batted .460 and had 18 home runs and 68 RBI, while Galusha hit .403 with seven home runs and 29 RBI.
Montana State Billings: MSUB added a pair of NWAACC second team all-stars in shortstop Samantha Jo Everett (5-2, Jr., Roseville, CA) from Southwestern Oregon and outfielder Breanna Wilson (5-5, Jr., Yelm, WA) from Bellevue CC. Everett hit .279 for the Oregon school, while Wilson batted .404 last season at Bellevue.
Western Oregon: The Wolves signed three JC all-stars from three different states. Infielder Bridjet Box (5-4, Jr., Gig Harbor, WA - South Kitsap) was a first teamer at Olympic CC where she hit .316 and drove in 25 runs. Shortstop Melanie Pfeiffer (5-3, Jr., Reno, NV - Wooster) transferred from Western Nevada after batting .320 and driving in 22 runs to earn second team all-region honors. Outfielder Danielle Hannan (5-4, Jr., El Segundo, CA) hit .371 at Long Beach City to earn second team South Coast all-conference honors.
THE SEASON STARTS FEB. 1: Two GNAC teams travel to California and two head to Hawaii for their season openers. Northwest Nazarene opens at Menlo and Western Oregon debuts against UC San Diego on Feb. 1. Both Western Washington and Saint Martin's will join BYU-Hawaii, Rollins and host Hawaii Hilo for a tournament in Hilo. MSU Billings will debut Feb. 6 at Dixie State before hosting the MSUB Desert Stinger, Feb. 8-10 in Las Vegas. Six of the GNAC's seven teams - Central Washington, Northwest Nazarene, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon, Western Washington and MSUB - will compete in the tournament.
AROUND THE GNAC: Four of the GNAC's top six hitters from last year graduated including batting champion Kelsey Haberl of Simon Fraser (.465), but 15 .300 hitters do return this spring. MSUB Billings and Saint Martin's each return four, while Western Oregon, Western Washington and Simon Fraser all have two back and Central Washington has one ... Nine of the 12 pitchers who posted ERAs below 4.00 last year return including all of the top six - Eugenio (0.93), Bakos (2.32), Lukawesky (2.38), Munger (2.43) and Bywater (2.55).
CENTRAL WASHINGTON WILDCATS
Head Coach: Mallory Holtman-Fletcher, Central Washington '08 (53-45, 2 years)
Assistants: Gary Frederick, Mike Garoutte, Kelli Spaulding
2012 Record: 19-29
Conference: 15-21, 5th
Returning Letter Winners: 10
Returning Starters (2 position, 2 pitcher): Elena Carter (C-1B, 5-9, Sr., .341, 6 hr, 21 rbi, 1st team GNAC DP); Cassi Ellis (C, 5-1, Sr., .298, 3 hr, 21 rbi, HM GNAC); Heidy Wells (P-3B, 5-6, So., .343, 4 hr, 11 rbi, 5-9, 4.57, HM 3B); Maria Gau (P, 5-7, Jr., 11-17, 3.48 ERA)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Katie Focher (OF, 5-8, So., .190, 0 hr, 3 rbi); Jordan Zurfluh (OF, 5-7, Jr., .175, 0 hr, 9 rbi); Taryn Smith (P, 5-7, So., 1-1, 4.67 ERA)
Key Transfers: Maikala Galusha (1B, 5-11, Jr., Battle Ground, WA - Mt. Hood, 1st team NWAACC, .403, 7 hr, 29 rbi); Jill McDaniels (2B, 5-8, Jr., Walla Walla, WA - WWCC, 1st team NWAACC, .460, 18 hr, 68 rbi)
MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
Head Coach: Lisa Allen, Oregon State (54-27, 2 years)
Assistants: Rebekah (Tsatsa) Gasner
2012 Record: 32-18
Conference: 25-11, 1st
Returning Letter Winners: 11
Returning Starters (4 position, 4 pitchers): Rose Harrington (OF, 5-3, Sr., .401, 3 hr, 32 rbi, 1st team GNAC, 2nd team Daktronics Region); Nicole Wilkerson (C, 5-6, Sr., .351, 2 hr, 8 rbi, 1st team GNAC); Emily Osborn (1B, 5-8, So., .343, 5 hr, 44 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Amanda Todd (P, 5-5, Jr., 7-4, 3.39 ERA, 2nd team GNAC); Jessyka MacDonald (P, 5-8, So., 6-3, 4.05 ERA, 2nd team GNAC); Taylor Hoke (3B, 5-2, So., .340, 3 hr, 18 rbi, HM GNAC); Mary Grace Bywater (P, 5-8, So., 6-4, 2.55 ERA, HM GNAC); Jessica Campbell (P, 5-7, So., 2-1, 4.38 ERA)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Brittney Sanders (C, 5-6, So., .379, 2 hr, 11 rbi)
Key Transfers: Samantha Jo Everett (SS, 5-2, Jr., Roseville, CA - Southwestern Oregon, 2nd team NWAACC, .279, 4 hr, 19 rbi); Breanna Wilson (OF, 5-5, Jr., Yelm, WA - Bellevue CC, 2nd team NWAACC, .404, 0 hr, 8 rbi)
NORTHWEST NAZARENE CRUSADERS
Head Coach: Rich Wagner, Northwest Nazarene `99 (First year)
2012 Record: 8-37
Conference: 7-29, 7th
Returning Letter Winners: 6
Returning Starters (2 position): Baylee Jolliffe (OF, 5-4, Sr., .265, 0 hr, 16 rbi, HM GNAC); Kendra Day (2B-SS, 5-5, So., .196, 0 hr, 2 rbi)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Brianna Kinghorn (3B, 5-6, So., .222, 1 hr, 9 rbi); Krista Olson (P-1B, 5-9, So., 3-8, 6.03 ERA)
Key Transfers: Cassandra Duschel (C-SS, 5-6, Jr., Fife, WA - Green River, 1st team NWAACC, .438, 3 hr, 16 rbi); Shelby Johnson (OF, 5-7, Jr., Soda Springs, ID - Treasure Valley, 1st team NWAACC, .297, 12 hr, 46 rbi); Noelle Wright (P-!B, 5-9, Jr., Irrigon, OR - Clackamas CC, NWAACC all-tournament, 11-2, 2.24 ERA)
SAINT MARTIN'S SAINTS
Head Coach: Rick Noren, Western Washington '87 (42-48-1, 2 years; Overall, 444-193-1, 16 years)
Assistants: Leanne Noren, Kelsey Haupert
2012 Record: 33-18-1
Conference: 23-13, 3rd
Returning Letter Winners: 9
Returning Starters (5 position, 1 position/pitcher, 1 pitcher): Sam Munger (P-SS, 5-6, So., .402, 1 hr, 41 rbi, 16-7, 2.43 ERA, GNAC Freshman of the Year, 1st team GNAC, 2nd team NFCA Region); Lacey McGladrey (2B, 5-4, Jr., .365, 4 hr, 28 rbi, 1st team GNAC, 2nd team NFCA Region); Joslyn Eugenio (P-1B, 5-3, Sr., .351, 3 hr, 47 rbi, 4-3, 0.95 ERA, 2nd team GNAC 1B); Taviah Jenkins (OF, 5-8, So., .301, 4 hr, 25 rbi); Aubree Pocklington (C, 5-9, Sr., .281, 0 hr, 5 rbi); Taylor Bakos (P, 5-4, Sr., 9-5, 2.32 ERA, GNAC Newcomer of the Year)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): None
Key Transfers: None
SIMON FRASER CLAN
Head Coach: Mike Renney, Simon Fraser `94 (527-201, 18 years)
Assistants: Bryan Sask
2012 Record: 33-14
Conference: 24-12, 2nd
Returning Letter Winners: 9
Returning Starters (4 position, 2 pitchers): Cara Lukawesky (P, 5-10, Sr., 21-6, 2.38 ERA, GNAC Pitcher of the Year, 1st team GNAC); Carly Lepoutre (3B-SS, 5-3, Sr., .327, 0 hr, 14 rbi, 2nd team GNAC 3B); Kelsie Hawkins (P, 5-8, Jr., 11-7, 2.99 ERA, HM GNAC); Trisha Bouchard (OF, 5-6, Sr., .319, 8 hr, 30 rbi); Rosie Murphy (OF, 5-5, Sr., .270, 1 hr, 22 rbi); Lauren Mew (2B-SS, 5-4, Sr., .175, 1 hr, 9 rbi)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): None
Key Transfers: None
WESTERN OREGON WOLVES
Head Coach: Lonny Sargent, Warner Pacific `01 (First year; Overall, 31-67, 2 years at Utah State)
Assistants: Marie Stone
2012 Record: 23-26
Conference: 19-17, 4th
Returning Letter Winners: 10
Returning Starters (7 position, 1 pitcher): Amanda Evola (OF, 5-7, So., .378, 8 hr, 40 rbi. 1st team GNAC); Andrea Bailey (SS, 5-3, Sr., .325, 4 hr, 17 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Jourdan Williams (P-IF, 5-8, So., .278, 3 hr, 25 rbi, HM GNAC); Danielle Harcourt (OF, 5-4, Jr., .295, 4 hr, 17 rbi); Desiree Villegas (2B-SS, 5-3, Sr., .165, 0 hr, 8 rbi); Lexi Orteza (2B, 5-2, Sr., .235, 0 hr, 3 rbi); Ashlie Gardner (3B, 5-7, Jr., .212, 2 hr, 8 rbi); Hannah Pomeroy (P, 5-6, Sr., 8-10, 3.24 ERA)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Ali Parkerson (OF-DP, 5-6, Jr., .179, 0 hr, 12 rbi); Eryka Brill (P, 6-1, Jr., 1-6, 4.69 ERA)
Key Transfers: Bridjet Box (IF, 5-4, Jr., Gig Harbor, WA - South Kitsap & Olympic CC, 1st team NWAACC .316, 0 hr, 25 rbi); Melanie Pfeiffer (IF, 5-3,Jr., Reno, NV - Western Nevada, 2nd team all-region SS, .320, 22 rbi); Danielle Hannan (OF, 5-4, Jr., El Segundo, CA - Long Beach City, 2nd team South Coast all-conference, .371)
WESTERN WASHINGTON VIKINGS
Head Coach: Amy Suiter (53-52, 2 years; Overall, 68-94, 3 years)
2012 Record: 17-36
Conference: 13-23, 6th
Returning Letter Winners: 10
Returning Starters (6 position, 1 pitcher): Meghan Carrillo (OF-1B, 5-3, Jr., .312, 0 hr, 18 rbi, 2nd team GNAC); Cheyenne Best (2B, 5-6, So., .280, 1 hr, 4 rbi, 2nd team GNAC 3B); Rachelle Berry (OF-1B, 5-7, Sr., .313, 2 hr, 17 rbi, HM GNAC OF); Jackie Rothenberger (C, 5-7, Sr., .277, 2 hr, 22 rbi); Kristen Allen (2B-OF, 5-7, Sr., .247, 2 hr, 20 rbi); Amanda Flores (1B-C, 5-8, Jr., .256, 5 hr, 15 rbi); Jenna DeRosier (P, 5-7, Jr., 4-14, 5.22 ERA)
Other Key Returnees (40 or more at bats, 20 or more IP): Allie Crowe (OF, 5-7, So., .200, 0 hr, 2 rbi)
Key Transfers: Haylee Baker (SS, 5-4, Jr., Poulsbo, WA - Bellevue CC, 1st team NFCA JC All-American, .455, 13 hr, 54 rbi); Camille DePew (OF, 5-9, Sr., Seattle - Shoreline CC & North Dakota State, 1st team NFCA JC All-American in 2010, .547, 11 hr, 43 rbi)
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