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One Regular Season Week Left And All Is Still Up For Grabs
Saint Martin's freshman Britney Patrick, the GNAC Player of the Week, had three of the Saints' 10 home runs in a series sweep of Montana State Billings. Photo by Shi Robinson.
Saint Martin's freshman Britney Patrick, the GNAC Player of the Week, had three of the Saints' 10 home runs in a series sweep of Montana State Billings. Photo by Shi Robinson.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

IT’S ALL ON THE LINE IN THE FINAL WEEK: With one week left in the regular season, everything is still up for grabs.

No team has clinched any of the four spots in next week’s GNAC Softball Championships, making all 16 games this week important.

With a 25-9 overall record and an 8-4 conference mark, Northwest Nazarene is in the driver’s seat for the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Nighthawks rank among the top Division II teams in batting average, doubles, fielding percentage, home runs, slugging percentage and walks.

The Nighthawks will finish the regular-season at Montana State Billings. The Yellowjackets will need help to make the Championships, entering the week with a 5-11 record.

After not playing for two weeks, Central Washington will play eight games in the span of five days this week. The Wildcats will host Western Oregon in a make-up series on Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to Western Washington for a four-game series on Saturday and Sunday. Central Washington currently sits in second place in the GNAC with a 5-3 record.

The Vikings enter the week in third place in the GNAC with a 9-7 record. Western Washington leads the conference with a 2.73 earned run average. The home field has been an advantage to the Vikings with a 7-3 record in Bellingham.

Saint Martin’s swept a four-game series at Montana State Billings to improve to 8-8 in conference play (17-14 overall) and take the potential No. 4 spot in the Championships. The Saints blasted their way back into the playoff picture with 10 home runs in the series, including a school-record five homers in Saturday’s opener.

The top four teams in the conference standings based on win percentage will qualify for the GNAC Softball Championships, which take place May 6-8 at Western Oregon.

NO SPECTATORS: To protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and other staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, spectators are not allowed at athletic events hosted by GNAC institutions this spring. Fans are encouraged to visit GNACSports.com for links to live stats and video for conference games.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
PLAYER
Britney Patrick, Saint Martin’s
IF • 5-8 • Freshman • Raymond, Wash.

Patrick batted .556 as Saint Martin’s swept Montana State Billings to claim a stake in the GNAC Championships race, going 10 for 18 with eight runs, five RBI, two doubles and three home runs. Patrick went 2 for 4 in Friday’s opener with a pair of solo home runs and then went 2 for 5 in the nightcap with an RBI single and two runs scored. On Saturday, Patrick went 3 for 5 with two doubles in game one and capped the series by going 3 for 4 with her third solo homer of the weekend.

Also Nominated: Brittanee Fisher (Montana State Billings), Maia McNicoll (Northwest Nazarene), Chantelle Shimabukuro (Western Washington).

PITCHER
Tori Hensley, Northwest Nazarene
P • 5-9 • Senior • Kirkland, Wash.

Hensley threw a complete-game shutout in the Nighthawks’ 7-0 second-game win over Western Washington on Friday. She allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out six to improve to 6-2 on the season, Hensley also appeared in relief in Saturday’s 9-5 first-game win, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in two innings.

Also Nominated: Abby Runyon (Saint Martin’s).

AROUND THE GNAC
CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington has not played since April 11. The Wildcats will make up for lost time with eight games this week, hosting Western Oregon for a four-game series on Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to Western Washington for four games on Saturday and Sunday.

• Senior Theresa Moyle enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with a .427 batting average and ranks 20th in Division II with 1.22 RBI per game. One of the Division II leaders in triples, Moyle is seventh nationally with five triples and 0.22 triples per game.

• Sophomore Harlee Carpenter is sixth in the GNAC with a .391 batting average. She leads Division II with seven triples and ranks second with 0.30 triples per game. Carpenter is still within striking distance of the single-season record of nine triples set by Andrea Williams of Humboldt State in 2004.

• Junior Samantha Stanfield leads the CWU pitching staff with a 2.44 earned run average, which ranks fourth in the GNAC. She has a 3-3 record and has struck out 35 in 43 innings. Senior Rhaney Harris has a 5-1 record and a 3.20 earned run average.

• Central Washington enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 10th in Division II with a .346 batting average. The Wildcats lead Division II with 22 triples and 0.96 triples per game while also ranking ninth in scoring with 7.39 runs per game.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Postseason hopes for Montana State Billings took a  hit last weekend with the Yellowjackets dropping all four games to Saint Martin’s. The Saints won Saturday’s games 7-5 and 9-2 and Sunday’s games 11-3 and 9-6.

• Junior Brittanee Fisher led MSUB offensively with a .333 batting average, going 4 for 12 with two runs, five RBI and two home runs. Fisher had a hit in each game of the series. She had a solo home run that sparked a five-run sixth-inning rally in Saturday’s opener and added a three-run shot in Sunday’s finale. Fisher enters the week with a .333 batting average and is second in the GNAC with 10 home runs. She ranks 26th in Division II with 0.33 home runs per game.

• Junior Taylor Anderson finished the weekend with a .300 average, going 3 for 10 with three runs and an RBI. She went 2 for 3 in the final game of the series on Sunday, which included a solo home run in the sixth. Anderson enters the week with a .344 batting average.

• Freshman Julia Qualteri was the Yellowjackets’ top finisher in a rough week in the circle, allowing six runs, four earned, on 13 hits in 8.1 innings. Qualteri took the loss in Saturday’s second game, allowing six runs, four earned, 11 hits and a walk in 5.2 innings. She fared better in relief in Sunday’s second game, allowing two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 2.2 innings. Qualteri enters the week with a 4-7 record and 5.85 earned run average.

• The Yellowjackets enter the week with a .286 batting average and a 6.39 earned run average. The team ranks 17th in Division II with 41 home runs and sixth with 1.28 home runs per game.

• Montana State Billings will close the regular season by hosting Northwest Nazarene for a four-game series on Friday and Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• The Nighthawks took control of the race for the GNAC regular-season title by taking three of four games from Western Washington last weekend. Northwest Nazarene won both games on Friday, 4-3 (10 innings) and 7-0. The Nighthawks won Saturday’s opener 9-5 and lost the finale 3-2 in a five-inning game called due to darkness.

• Junior Tori Hensley was named the GNAC Softball Pitcher of the Week for her four-hit shutout in the second game on Friday. She improved to 6-2 on the season as she allowed the four hits and two walks while striking out six. Hensley entered in relief in Saturday’s opener, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in two innings. Hensley is ninth in the GNAC with a 3.60 earned run average.

• Sophomore Maia McNicoll led the Nighthawks offensively with a .533 batting average, going 8 for 15 with four runs, eight RBI and three home runs. She went 2 for 4 in Friday’s opener with a solo home run and then went 2 for 4 with a three-run homer and an RBI single in the nightcap. McNicoll opened Saturday with a three-hit performance and a pair of RBI singles. McNicoll is eighth in the GNAC with a .374 batting average. She leads the GNAC and is 22nd in Division II with 11 home runs.

• Freshman Sidney Booth picked up two more wins in the circle to improve to 12-2 on the season. She earned the win in Friday’s 10-inning affair, allowing three runs on two hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in 8.2 innings. Booth went five innings in Saturday’s opener, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with six strikeouts. Booth leads the GNAC with her 1.59 earned run average and is fifth with a .398 batting average.

• The Nighthawks enter the week ranked 16th in Division II with a .339 batting average while owning a 2.82 earned run average. They rank 22nd in Division II with 62 doubles.

• Northwest Nazarene closes the regular season with a four-game series at Montana State Billings on Friday and Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s made a loud and clear case for the postseason with a four-game sweep at Montana State Billings. The Saints won Saturday’s games 7-5 and 9-2 and the Sunday games 11-3 and 9-6.

• The Saints clubbed 10 home runs in the series, five of which came in the opener on Saturday to break the school record.

• Freshman Britney Patrick was named GNAC Softball Player of the Week as she batted .556 in the series, going 10 for 18 with eight runs, five RBI, two doubles and three home runs. Patrick had two of the five SMU home runs in the opener, both solo shots, and then went 2 for 5 with an RBI single in the nightcap. She went 3 for 5 in Saturday’s opener with an RBI double and then went 3 for 4 in the finale with her third solo homer. Patrick leads Saint Martin’s with a .337 batting average.

• Freshman Abby Runyon collected two more wins and a save in the series. She went the distance in Saturday’s opener, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts, and did the same in Sunday’s opener by allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Runyon threw the final inning of the series finale for her first save of the year. Runyon enters the week ranked sixth in the GNAC with a 3.17 earned run average.

• Saint Martin’s is third in the GNAC with a 4.14 earned run average and owns a .271 batting average.

• The Saints will try to clinch a spot in the GNAC Championships this weekend at home as they host Western Oregon for a four-game series.

SIMON FRASER
• Due to the continued closure of the U.S./Canadian border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simon Fraser is unable to play in the GNAC season.

WESTERN OREGON
• With the cancellation of its series last weekend against Central Washington, Western Oregon has not played since April 11. The Wolves and Wildcats will make up their series in Ellensburg on Wednesday and Thursday. The Wolves will close the regular season with a four-game series at Saint Martin’s on Saturday and Sunday.

• Senior Chandler Bishop leads the Wolves with a .353 batting average in 16 games and also leads the team with a .824 on-base percentage. To date, Bishop has 34 hits, 12 doubles, five home runs and a team-leading 15 RBI. In the circle, Bishop owns a 4.36 earned run average with five starts this season.

• Senior Sydney Bowers is batting .321 for Western Oregon with 17 hits, seven runs, two home runs and five RBI as the Wolves regular leadoff hitter. She also ranks among the team leaders with seven walks.

• Junior Reilly Tidwell is Western Oregon’s leading pitcher with a 3.35 earned run average, ranking her eighth in the GNAC. She has two wins and has allowed 22 runs, 18 earned, in 37.2 innings with 25 strikeouts.

• Western Oregon enters the week with a .255 batting average and a 4.76 earned run average. The Wolves are 22nd in Division II with a .972 fielding percentage and 11th with 0.50 double plays per game.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington dropped three of four games to Northwest Nazarene on its final road trip of the regular season. The Vikings lost Friday’s games 4-3 (10 innings) and 7-0. The Vikings lost the Saturday opener, 9-5, before winning the finale 3-2 in a five-inning game called due to darkness.

• Junior Chantelle Shimabukuro led the Vikings offensively with a .429 batting average in the series, going 6 for 14 with four RBI and two doubles. Shimabukuro went 2 for 5 in Friday’s opener with a two-RBI double in the seventh that forced extra innings. In Saturday’s opener, she went 2 for 4 with an RBI double in the fifth. Shimabukuro enters the week with a .310 batting average.

• Senior Mackenzie Palmer batted .385 in the series, going 5 for 13 with two runs and an RBI. Palmer went 2 for 3 in both Friday’s opener and Saturday’s opener, which included an RBI single on Saturday. Palmer enters the week with a .344 batting average.

• Junior Kira Doan earned the lone victory in the circle in relief on Saturday, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and a strikeout in 3.2 innings to improve to 7-6 on the season. Doan ranks fifth in the GNAC with a 2.70 earned run average. Senior Anna Kasner, meanwhile, stands 11 strikeouts away from the GNAC career record of 511 set by Adrian Herman of Northwest Nazarene (2003-06). She is second in the GNAC with a 2.03 earned run average.

• Western Washington enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with a .326 batting average and leads the GNAC with a 2.73 earned run average. The Vikings are 23rd in Division II with 1.82 doubles per game and 23rd with a .414 on-base percentage.

• Western Washington will host Central Washington for a four-game series on Saturday and Sunday to close the regular season.

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