2003 WWU Softball Review
May 28, 2003
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - An up-and-down Western Washington University softball season concluded on a high note as the Vikings made their first national tournament appearance in five years as a full member of NCAA Division II.
The Vikings were 26-22 overall, placing second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 16-8 mark, and earned the No.6 seed in the West Regional of NCAA Division II, where they were eliminated with a 4-2 loss to UC Davis and a 7-1 loss to Humboldt State.
Western opened the season 8-3, then dropped seven of its next eight contests and hovered around .500 for much of the season until closing the regular season with four consecutive victories. That streak and help from other results propelled the Vikings into the regional tournament.
Leading the way for Western was senior pitcher Amanda Grant (Mukilteo/Kamiak), who earned second-team all-West Region honors for the third straight year and was GNAC co-Pitcher of the Year. Grant was 13-7 with a 1.51 ERA. She completed 16 of her 18 starts, earned two of Western's four saves, and set a school single-season record with 129 strikeouts.
Grant completed her career 48-25 with a 1.20 ERA. The victory and ERA marks are school career records, as are her 389 strikeouts, 18 shutouts, and 507 2/3 innings pitched. She shares school career bests in complete games (58) and saves (5).
Also earning second-team all-region honors was sophomore outfielder Megan McPhee (Anacortes), who led the Vikings in batting average (.356), hits (53), runs batted in (28), doubles (8), and slugging percentage (.523). She ranked second in the GNAC in batting average and slugging percentage, and third in RBI and triples (4).
Joining Grant and McPhee as GNAC all-stars were junior first baseman Hadley Jensen (Olympia) and junior designated player Jodie Rock (Anacortes). Jensen, who earned GNAC co-Newcomer of the Year honors after sitting out last season while on an exchange program, hit .323, with all 41 of her hits being singles, and also led the Vikings with 10 sacrifice bunts. Rock hit .311, led the GNAC in on-base percentage at .432 and set a school record with 21 walks, which ranked second in the conference.
Sophomore third baseman Adrienne Moore (Lake Forest Park/Shorecrest) was Western's top power threat, hitting .292 with 27 RBI and a school-record five home runs. She tied two school single-game records, hitting two homers against Western Oregon and driving in five runs against Montana State-Billings.
Moore was a GNAC academic all-star. Also earning that honor were junior shortstop Dani Deyette (Olympia), who hit .292 and had the two longest hitting streaks of the season at nine and eight games; and senior outfielder Candice Adamo (Sammamish/Skyline), who was a perfect 12-of-12 on stolen bases.
Three seniors made a mark in Western's career lists. Outfielder Jessi Williams (Everett/Cascade) ended up second in hits (174), at bats (542) and stolen bases (74), and third in runs scored (95). Pitcher Nancy Mills (Los Gatos, CA) finished third in wins (29) and complete games (26), and fourth in innings pitched (263 2/3) and shutouts (8). Pitcher Kristen Kiekenapp (Renton/Lindbergh) was third in innings pitched (277-1/3) and strikeouts (234), and fifth in victories (20) and complete games (21)
Western's offense struggled at times, going 10 games without scoring more than two runs during one midseason stretch, but the Vikings still ended up second in the seven-team GNAC in batting average (.263), and runs scored (161).
Among the highlights of the season was a 3-2 victory over GNAC champion Humboldt State on a game-winning homer in the bottom of the seventh by senior catcher Rachel Laitala (Woodinville). The Vikings also reached the championship semifinals at the Tournament of Champions, posting a 5-2 record.
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