26 Teams Head to Turlock For West Region Softball Tourney
CWU's Maria Gau earned three wins last week allowing just two runs in 19 innings.
CWU's Maria Gau earned three wins last week allowing just two runs in 19 innings.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

TURLOCK, Calif.  - Twenty-six West Region NCAA Division II softball teams, including all seven Great Northwest Athletic Conference squads, will compete beginning Friday in the Tournament of Champions Presented by Mizuno.  Cal State Stanislaus is the host school.

Joining the seven GNAC teams - Central Washington, Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin's, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon and Western Washington - in the regular-season tournament are 10 California Collegiate Athletic Association squads and nine from the PacWest Conference.

The tournament will go a long ways in helping determine which five at-large teams join the GNAC, PacWest and CCAA champions in the NCAA Division II West Regionals next month.

The GNAC will, for the first time, determine, its champion with a post-season tournament.

Montana State Billings, the defending GNAC champion, will host the GNAC four-team double-elimination tournament May 2-4.

With two-thirds of the GNAC regular-season schedule complete, six of the conference seven times still have an opportunity to qualify for the tournament.

Simon Fraser leads the conference race with a 11-4 record.  They lead Saint Martin's (8-4), Western Oregon (9-5) and Central Washington (10-6), who are in a virtual tie for second place, all by 1 1/2 games.

Western Washington (8-8) and Montana State Billings (7-8) trail the Clan by 3 1/2 and four games, respectively.  Only Northwest Nazarene has been mathematically eliminated from post-season play.

NATIONAL RANKINGS & STATISTICS: Three West Region teams are ranked in the lastest National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, conducted last Wednesday.  Humboldt State is ranked 14th.  Sonoma State is ranked 16th and Grand Canyon is ranked 18th ... In this week's NCAA Division II national statistical report,  CWU second baseman Jill McDaniels is ranked in the Top 30 in four different categories.  She ranks 15th in home runs per game (0.39), 16th in RBI per game (1.35), 25th in total home runs (9) and 30th in slugging (.841).  Kelsie Hawkins of Simon Fraser ranks 13th in shutouts with five ... The highest ranked GNAC player is Danielle Harcourt of Western Oregon who is fifth in sacrifice flies with 4.