April 16, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Five seniors will be making their final home appearances this weekend as Western Washington University seeks to clinch a berth in the conference post-season tournament during a four-game home stand as the Vikings entertain Northwest Nazarene University in Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball doubleheaders on Friday (1 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.) at Viking Field on the WWU campus.
The Vikings, 23-11 overall, are third in the GNAC standings at 10-6. Conference leader Western Oregon (14-4) and second-place Central Washington (14-6) have already secured berths in the four-team, double-elimination tournament scheduled for May 1-3 at Richland, Wash. (Columbia Playfields). Defending champion Saint Martin's (9-6) is in fourth place.
Northwest Nazarene, which has lost its last three games, is 11-27 overall and 3-12 in GNAC action.
WWU, which can assure itself of a tourney berth with two more victories, is ranked ninth in the first NCAA Division II West Region poll released Wednesday. Cal State Monterey Bay is No.1, followed by Dixie State, UC San Diego, Cal Baptist, Humboldt State, Sonoma State, Central Washington and Cal State San Bernardino. The top eight teams, barring unranked tournament champions, qualify for the regional playoffs.
The WWU senior quintet includes shortstop Haylee Baker (Poulsbo/Bainbridge), outfielder Meghan Carrillo (Prunedale, CA/North Monterey County), pitcher Jenna DeRosier (Kelso), designated hitter Amanda Flores (Ferndale) and outfielder Kaleigh Keating (Salinas, CA/Notre Dame Salinas). Carrillo, DeRosier, Flores and Keating are all four-year letter winners.
WWU, which has won 12 of its last 15 games, leads the GNAC and ranks seventh nationally in hitting with a .354 average.
The Vikings have three of the GNAC's top five hitters, led by Alexie Levin (So., Everett), who leads the conference in hitting (.438), slugging percentage (.750) and on-base percentage (.484). She has eight home runs, one shy of the school record, 11 doubles, 49 hits (112 at bats), 40 runs batted in and 28 runs scored.
Carrillo is batting .430 (34-for-79) and Autumn Isaacson (Jr., Lake Stevens) .405 (47-for-116). Isaacson ranks 11th nationally in stolen bases with 27 (30 attempts), one shy of the GNAC record, and has not made an error in 50 fielding chances.
DeRosier, who has a 13-3 record, has won eighth straight decisions for WWU.
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