GNAC Hits The Sandlot In Lacey For Baseball Championships
Western Oregon, Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington are all headed to Lacey, Wash. for the 2023 GNAC Baseball Championships on May 11-12.
Western Oregon, Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington are all headed to Lacey, Wash. for the 2023 GNAC Baseball Championships on May 11-12.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

LACEY, Wash. – The best of the GNAC are set to take the field in Lacey, Washington for the 2023 GNAC Baseball Championships.

No. 1 seed Western Oregon comes into the tournament looking to defend its title from last season after securing its second consecutive regular-season championship while No. 2 seed Northwest Nazarene and No. 3 seed aim to spoil the Wolves’ party.

Western Oregon raced away with the regular-season title late in the season, winning 11 of its last 12 games to finish the conference slate with a 20-9 GNAC record (27-13 overall). The Wolves have been lights out on both sides of the ball, leading the GNAC with a .315 batting average and a 4.02 ERA.

At the plate, the Wolves are led by the two most reliable hitters in the league, twin brothers Derek and Jacob Maiben. The seniors from Newberg, Oregon are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the GNAC with .421 and .405 batting averages, respectively. Both Maiben brothers also own on base percentages over .450 and bring the power with slugging percentages over .500 on the season. Derek Maiben leads Division II as the toughest to strike out batter, only going down on strikes three times in 159 at-bats heading into the GNAC Championships.

The Wolves’ league-leading pitching has been led by the deadly one-two punch of sophomores Dylan Chalmers and Bryce Bond. Chalmers leads the GNAC with a 2.63 ERA through 51.1 innings this season. He is followed by Bond with a 3.51 ERA through 41 innings.

Northwest Nazarene finished the regular season with a 17-15 GNAC record (23-27 overall) and was the first team to conclude its conference schedule. The Nighthawks rank second in the GNAC with a 4.80 ERA and are third with a .277 batting average heading into the tournament. They also lead the GNAC Championships field with 27 home runs on the season.

Leading the way at the plate for NNU is junior Mason Leavitt with a .363 batting average that ranks fourth in the conference. Leavitt has also shown patience in the batter’s box drawing 34 walks while stealing 11 bases.

Northwest Nazarene’s bullpen, led by senior Ty Pohlmann, is one of the most dangerous in the conference. Pohlmann enters the GNAC Championships with 57 strikeouts in just 31.2 innings this season. He is joined by junior Joseph Ihili, who leads the GNAC and ranks 12th in Division II with eight saves on the year.

Central Washington secured its place in the GNAC Championships in the final week of the regular season, rounding out its conference games with a 16-15 record (22-27 overall). The Wildcats used a late push to earn a tournament berth, winning seven of their last eight games. They rank third in the GNAC with a 5.74 ERA and a .273 batting average.

At the plate, Central Washington is led by sophomore Ben Leid and senior Trevor Triopli. Leid ranks ninth in the GNAC with a .343 batting average and is tied for second in the conference with 61 hits while Tripoli is second for CWU with a .317 batting average.

Senior southpaw Brayde Hirai leads the Wildcats on the mound with a 4.12 ERA to rank third in the conference. Hirai has started 11 games for CWU this season and his 67.2 innings are the most of any pitcher in the GNAC. He has gone the distance twice to tie for third in the conference.

Western Oregon is no stranger to GNAC Championships hardware and has come away with tournament victories on four of the eight occasions. Northwest Nazarene comes into this year’s tournament looking for its first GNAC Championships title since 2016 while Central Washington is on the hunt for its first title since 2014.

The 2023 GNAC Baseball Championships will be held on the campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington from May 11-12. Advance daily session tickets are available for purchase at and are priced at $12 for adults and $7 for seniors, students and children ages 6-14. Daily session tickets will be available at the gate for the same price. Children 5 and under are free. Daily session tickets include admission to all games each day.