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Nazzy To The Natty: Nighthawks Win GNAC Softball Title
Northwest Nazarene won the championship in its first GNAC Championships appearance and will appear in its first NCAA Division II tournament. Photo by Tyler Kanoa.
Northwest Nazarene won the championship in its first GNAC Championships appearance and will appear in its first NCAA Division II tournament. Photo by Tyler Kanoa.
Anna Williams was named the tournament MVP after she went 5 for 10 with six RBIs in the Nighthawks' three games. Photo by Tyler Kanoa.
Anna Williams was named the tournament MVP after she went 5 for 10 with six RBIs in the Nighthawks' three games. Photo by Tyler Kanoa.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – It took just one swing of Anna Williams’ bat to send Northwest Nazarene its first NCAA Division II Championship.

Williams’ leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning was all of the offense the No. 1 Nighthawks needed to win the final of the GNAC Softball Championships, 1-0, over No. 3 seed Simon Fraser at Porter Park.

The junior outfielder and GNAC Newcomer of the Year was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player as she went 5 for 10 in the Nighthawks’ three games with two runs and six RBIs. She accounted for all five of NNU RBIs in the final two games. Williams finished the day going 1 for 2 as team’s seven hits were scattered between seven different players.

Freshman Jordan Adams picked up her 19th win of the season in another complete-game effort, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out five. She threw 14 shutout innings in the tournament, allowing nine hits and three walks while striking out 18.

With the win, the Nighthawks (31-21) earn the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II Championship. The tournament field and regional locations will be announced during a selection show which will stream on NCAA.com on Monday at 7 a.m. (Pacific).

Taylor Gillis led Simon Fraser (21-19) offensively as she went 2 for 4. Alia Stachoski took the pitching loss in her final game. The senior allowed one run on seven this with a walk and two strikeouts. Over her four games of the tournament, Stachoski threw all 27 innings and a total of 411 pitches for the Clan.

The game was the last for Simon Fraser head coach Mike Renney, who is retiring after 24 years as the Clan's head coach.

Williams wasted no time putting the Nighthawks ahead, sending a two ball, one strike pitch over the wall in straightaway center field for her 10th home run of the season.

The Nighthawks nearly broke it open in the bottom of the second. Anna Olson reached on a fielder’s choice, Lily Paschal singled and Williams walked to load the bases before Stachoski coaxed Kylie Orr into a ground out to close out the inning.

The Clan saw a golden opportunity go unrealized in the top of the third. Chelsea Hotner drew a leadoff walk, Gillis singled with two outs and Alex Ogg walked to load the bases. Adams, however, got Kate Fergusson to fly out on the second pitch of the at-bat to end the threat. Simon Fraser had runners in scoring position in each of the next two innings, both of which were left stranded.

Simon Fraser had one more chance to tie the game in the seventh. Hotner reached on a single and was moved to second on Katherine Murnaghan’s sacrifice bunt. Adams, however, proceeded to retire the final two batter to clinch the championship.

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