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Yellowjackets Charge To Early GNAC Softball Lead
Maddy Lincoln was named GNAC Pitcher of the Week after she went 3-1 with a 1.29 earned run average while pitching in all five MSUB Desert Stinger games.
Maddy Lincoln was named GNAC Pitcher of the Week after she went 3-1 with a 1.29 earned run average while pitching in all five MSUB Desert Stinger games.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

YELLOWJACKETS MAKE MOST OF THE STINGER: Montana State Billings was picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in the GNAC Softball Preseason Poll. Coming out of the Desert Stinger, however, the Yellowjackets find themselves at No. 1.

The Yellowjackets went 4-1 at the annual tournament, hosted by MSUB at Majestic Park in Las Vegas. The record was the best of the seven conference teams that participated in the tournament. The ledger included a pair of five-inning shutouts, opening with a 14-0 win over Mary and ending with an 8-0 win over Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Montana State Billings led the seven GNAC teams with a .348 batting average and was second to Saint Martin’s with a 2.76 earned run average.

Three MSUB players were among four named the All-Tournament Team. Senior Heather Tracy also notched GNAC Player of the Week honors after she hit .550, going 11 for 20 with 11 runs and seven RBIs. She hit three home runs in Saturday’s 8-5 win over Colorado Christian, tying the GNAC single-game record.

Sophomore Maddy Lincoln went 3-1 and amassed a 1.29 earned run average in four appearances. She allowed five runs, three earned, on 11 hits with 12 strikeouts. Her efforts also earned Lincoln GNAC Pitcher of the Week laurels. Senior Megan Dettling finished the All-Tournament Team list as she led all GNAC players with a .556 average, going 10 for 18 with five runs and eight RBIs.

MORE STINGER STRIKES: Northwest Nazarene junior Cassidy Fifield was the other GNAC player named to the All-Tournament Team. She hit .524 in the five games, going 11 of 21 with six runs. six RBIs and two home runs...Concordia junior Mckenzie Smith went 2-0 and compiled a 0.51 earned run average in two starts. She allowed one hit in a complete-game win over Minot State...Also throwing one-hitters at the tournament was Lincoln against Mary and Northwest Nazarene’s Jessica Adams against Cal State Dominguez Hills...Western Oregon’s Haley Fabian struck out 17 batters in 14 innings and two appearances, nine of which came in the Wolves’ 7-2 win over Eastern New Mexico.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON PICKED TO REPEAT AS CHAMPIONS: With two straight regular-season championships under its belt, Central Washington has been selected to win the conference in the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Softball Preseason Coaches Poll.

The Wildcats, under third-year head coach Mike Larabee, received six of eight first-place votes to finish with 59 points in the poll. Central Washington used a solid start to the season to claim the regular season crown, winning 15 of its first 16 conference games. The magic faded at the end, however, with the Wildcats losing five of their last six and fell in the GNAC Championships consolation bracket to Western Oregon.

Western Washington, which used a strong finish to the season to win the GNAC Championships and earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Softball Championship, is picked second with 51 points. The Vikings finished the 2017 regular season on an eight-game win streak and swept through the GNAC Championships.

Coaches expect a tight race for the final two tournament positions with three teams tied in the poll with 42 points. Saint Martin’s was picked to repeat in third while Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon each received one first-place vote.

Following the third-place logjam was Montana State Billings (sixth, 21 pts.), Concordia (seventh, 16 pts.) and Simon Fraser (eighth, 15 pts.). Read The Complete Poll Story

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
PLAYER
Heather Tracy, Montana State Billings
OF • 5-8 •  Senior • Boise, Idaho

Tracy led the Yellowjackets to a 4-1 record at their own Desert Stinger tournament in Las Vegas as she hit .550 in the five games with 11 hits, 11 runs, three home runs and seven RBIs. She had three hits in three of the five games. Tracy went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs in the opening 14-0, five-inning win over Mary on Friday. She then tied the GNAC single-game record with three home runs in Saturday’s 8-5 win over Colorado Christian as she went 3 for 4 with four runs and five RBIs.

Also Nominated: Savannah Egbert (Central Washington), Elena Cook (Concordia), Cassidy Fifield (Northwest Nazarene), Lauren Diuco (Saint Martin’s), Lizzet Dominguez (Western Oregon), Shearyna Labasan (Western Washington).

PITCHER
Maddy Lincoln, Montana State Billings
P • 6-1 •  Sophomore • Olympia, Wash.

The sophomore went 3-1 in the Yellowjackets’ five games at the Desert Stinger, allowing five runs, three earned, on 11 hits while striking out 12. She allowed just one hit and struck out six in Friday’s season-opening 14-0, five-inning shutout of Mary. She returned to earn the win in relief in Friday’s 8-6 win over Academy of Art, allowing one walk and striking out two in 1.2 innings. Her third win also came in relief as she allowed one unearned run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 3.2 innings in Saturday’s 8-5 win over Colorado Christian.

Also Nominated: Mckenzie Smith (Concordia), Kim Nelson (Saint Martin’s), Ryanne Huffman (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington opened the season with a 3-2 record at the Desert Stinger. The Wildcats posted a 12-9 win over Texas Woman’s, a 9-1, six-inning win over San Francisco State and a 9-6 win over Cal State Monterey Bay.

• Sophomore Savannah Egbert led the Wildcats offensively with a .556 average, going 18 for 18 with nine runs scored. She went 3 for 4 in the opening win over Texas Woman’s, 3 for 5 with two stolen bases against Cal State San Bernardino and 3 for 4 against Cal State Monterey Bay.

• Senior Celine Fowler batted .400 in the five games, going 6 for 15 with six runs and two RBIs. She joined Egbert with a 3 for 4 effort against Texas Woman’s, which included a two-out RBI single that sparked the Wildcats’ game-winning three-run fifth inning.

• Freshman Lexi Strasser picked up two of the Wildcats’ three wins in the circle and compiled a 5.07 earned run average in four appearances. She went 6.1 innings to earn the win against Texas Woman’s, allowing nine runs, five earned, on six hits with four strikeouts. Strasser went the distance to beat Cal State Monterey Bay, allowing six runs, three earned on 12 hits with three strikeouts.

• Junior Kayla Smith earned the third pitching win as she allowed on unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts against San Francisco State.

• Central Washington finished the Desert Stinger with a .336 batting average, second-best among the seven GNAC teams at the tourney. The Wildcats also finished with eight steals and shares the GNAC lead with nine doubles.

• The Wildcats are off until Feb. 16 when they begin a six-game series in Hawaii against Hawaii Hilo.

CONCORDIA
• The Cavaliers opened the season by going 2-3 at the Desert Stinger, collecting a 6-1 win in the opener over Minot State and a 4-3 win over Notre Dame de Namur.

• Sophomore Macy Besuyen led Concordia offensively by hitting .417 in four games, going 5 for 12 with four runs, two doubles and a triple. She went 3 for with two a double, a triple and two runs against Minot State and notched single hits against UC San Diego and Notre Dame de Namur.

• Sophomore Elena Cook hit .357 in five games, going 5 for 14 with two doubles, a home run, six RBIs and a .714 slugging percentage. Four of her RBIs came on a sixth-inning grand slam against Minot State. She then went 2 for 3 against Notre Dame de Namur, knocking home the winning run in the fourth inning.

• Junior Mckenzie Smith went 2-0 and compiled a 0.51 earned run average in the circle, allowing four runs, one earned, on four hits in two appearances. She went the distance to beat Minot State, allowing one unearned run on one hit with five strikeouts. She then went 6.2 innings to earn the win over Notre Dame de Namur, allowing three runs, one earned, on three hits with six walks and two strikeouts. Smith leads the GNAC in ERA after the opening week.

• Concordia enters the week with a .225 batting average and a 4.12 earned run average.

• The Cavaliers travel to SoCal this weekend to take on Antelope Valley on Saturday and La Sierra on Sunday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings made the most of the Desert Stinger, leading GNAC teams with a 4-1 record. The Yellowjackets opened with a 14-0 win over Mary and an 8-6 win over Academy of Art and ended with an 8-5 win over Colorado Christian and an 8-0 shutout of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

• The Yellowjackets continued on Tuesday with a split against Hawaii Hilo in Las Vegas, winning the nightcap by a 6-3 score.

• Senior Heather Tracy was named the GNAC Softball Player of the Week as well as to the Desert Stinger All-Tournament Team after she batted .550 in the five games, going 11 for 20 with 11 runs, seven RBIs and three home runs. All three homers came in the win over Colorado Christian, where she tied the GNAC single-game record. Tracy also recorded three-hit performances against Mary and Cal State Dominguez Hills. After collecting two hits in each game against Hawaii Hilo, Tracy enters the week with a league-leading .577 batting average. She also leads the league in hits (15), runs scored (13) and home runs (3).

• Sophomore Maddy Lincoln collected GNAC Pitcher of the Week and All-Tournament honors after she went 3-1 in four appearances with a 1.29 earned run average. In 16.1 innings, she allowed five runs, three earned, on 11 hits with 12 strikeouts. Lincoln went the distance in the 14-0, five-inning win over Mary, allowing just one hit. She then entered in relief for victories over Academy of Art & Colorado Christian. Lincoln pitched in both games against Hawaii Hilo, earning the save in the nightcap.

• Senior Megan Dettling batted .556 in the five Stinger games and is hitting .440 in seven games this season. She went 4 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs against Cal State Dominguez Hills and 2 for 4 with two RBIs against Colorado Christian. Dettling also received All-Tournament Team honors.

• The Yellowjackets lead the GNAC with a .344 batting average and a .268 earned run average. Montana State Billings also leads with 66 hits and eight home runs.

• Montana State Billings will play five games this week in the Dixie State Easton Classic in St. George, Utah.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• After opening the GNAC season with two losses at Dixie State, Northwest Nazarene went 2-3 at the Desert Stinger with a 4-3 win over Notre Dame de Namur and a 10-0 shutout of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

• Junior Cassidy Fifield was named the Stinger All-Tournament Team after she batted .563 in the five games with a double, two home runs and six RBIs. She enters the week with a .556 average. She went 2 for 3 with four RBIs and a three-run homer against Cal State Dominguez Hills and 2 for 3 against Cal State Monterey Bay.

• Sophomore Brittany Genuardi amassed a .381 batting average over the first seven games, going 8 for 21 with five RBIs and a pair of homers. She had a two-run homer against Cal State Dominguez Hills and went 2 for 3 against Sonoma State.

• Freshman Jordan Adams led the NNU pitching staff with a 2.94 earned run average in her first four collegiate games. She earned the five-inning win over Cal State Dominguez Hills, allowing one hit and six walks and striking out five.

• Northwest Nazarene enters the week with a .260 batting average and a 5.29 earned run average. The Nighthawks have eight stolen bases on the season and lead the conference with 20 walks.

• The Nighthawks return to action this weekend, playing five games at the Dixie State Easton Classic.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s opened the season with a 1-4 record at the Desert Stinger. Their lone win came in the Saints’ final game on Sunday, beating Hawaii Hilo 2-1.

• Junior Lauren Diuco led the Saints offensively as she went .438 in the Stinger, going 7 for 16 with two runs, a .500 slugging percentage and 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts. She opened the season by going 2 for 4 against Sonoma State and then went 3 for 4 against Hawaii Hilo and scored the winning run in the seventh inning.

• Senior Kim Nelson was solid in the circle, going 1-1 in three appearances with a 2.23 earned run average. She allowed eight runs, seven earned, on 17 hits in 22 innings. She was the winner against Hawaii Hilo, allowing one run on four hits with a strikeout. Nelson took a hard-luck in extra innings against Sonoma State, allowing five runs, four earned, on nine hits.

• Freshman Devyn Connolly opened her collegiate career by hitting .313 in the Stinger, going 5 for 16 with two doubles and four RBIs. She debuted by going 2 for 3 with two doubles against Sonoma State and had single hits in three of the Saints’ remaining games.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week with a .237 batting average and leads the GNAC with a 2.60 earned run average. The Saints allowed the fewest earned runs (13) of any GNAC team at the Desert Stingers.

• The Saints will be in the Bay Area this weekend, playing doubleheaders at Holy Names on Saturday and Academy of Art on Sunday.

SIMON FRASER
• The only GNAC team not to play in the Desert Stinger, Simon Fraser opened the season with an 8-7 come-from-behind win at Biola on Tuesday. The second game of the scheduled doubleheader was canceled after two innings due to travel considerations.

• Sophomore Amanda Janes led the Clan by going 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run. Senior Taylor Gillis went 2 for 4 and scored on a single by Hailey Gearey in the five-run seventh inning.

• Freshman Kyra Watson earned the win in her first collegiate game, relieving starter Alia Stachoski and allowed three hits and a walk in 2.1 innings of work. After starting, Stachoski re-entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and forced three groundouts for the save.

• Simon Fraser boards a plane to Sydney, Australia, on Thursday and will spend two weeks down under for a number of games and scrimmages against open teams. The Clan returns to counting competition in the Northern Hemisphere on Feb. 17, making a stopover in Hawaii to play Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon went 3-2 at the Desert Stinger, scoring a 7-2 win over Eastern New Mexico, a 4-3 win over Sonoma State and a 13-6 win over Notre Dame de Namur.

• Freshman Tyler Creach led the Wolves offensively in her collegiate debut, batting .462 as she went 6 for 13 with two runs and an RBI. She went 2 for 3 in the opener against Eastern New Mexico with an RBI single in the fourth and went 2 for 3 with a run against Notre Dame de Namur.

• Junior Ryanne Huffman batted .400 in the five games, going 6 for 15 with a triple, a home run, four RBIs and a .733 slugging percentage. She went 3 for 4 with a triple against Sonoma State and went 2 for 3 with two runs, two RBIs and a two-out, two-run homer in the third against Notre Dame de Namur.

• Senior Lizzet Dominguez opened the season going 2-0 in the circle. She amassed a 3.50 earned run average as she allowed nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits in 14 innings. Dominguez collected two complete-game wins, allowing three runs on three hits against Sonoma State and six runs, four earned, on six hits against Notre Dame de Namur.

• Western Oregon finished the Desert Stinger with a .314 batting average and a 6.79 earned run average. The Wolves share the GNAC lead with nine doubles and are third with six home runs.

• The Wolves will play this weekend in Canyon, Texas, at the West Texas A&M Lady Buff Invite. Western Oregon will play three games against the host school and three against Southwestern Oklahoma State.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington had a tough opening week, going 0-5 at the Desert Stinger. The Vikings’ had a close 5-3 loss to Stanislaus State and a 7-6 defeat to Concordia (Calif.) along with an 8-4, eight-inning loss to Colorado Christian.

• Junior Shearyna Labasan led the Vikings in both hitting and pitching, batting .471 in the five games while amassing a 5.00 earned run average in 14 innings in the circle. She went 2 for 4 against Colorado Christian while going the distance in the eight-inning loss. She also went 2 for 4 against Sonoma State and was a perfect 3 for 3 with a run scored against Concordia (Calif.).

• Freshman Erica Hardy batted .368 in her collegiate debut, going 7 for 19 with four runs. She went 4 for 4 with a run against Sonoma State to top her first week.

• Western Washington enters the week with a .231 batting average and a 6.15 earned run average. The Vikings finished with six home runs at the Desert Stinger, tying for third-most amongst GNAC teams in the tournament.

• The Vikings will look for their first win of the season in St. George, Utah, playing six games at the Dixie State Easton Classic. The games will be Western Washington’s last before opening GNAC play on Mar. 2.

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