WWU Softball's Regional Wins Earn Team Of The Week
Western Washington went 5-0 at the Tournament of Champions for the second time in program history last week and picked up a trio of shutout victories in the process.
Western Washington went 5-0 at the Tournament of Champions for the second time in program history last week and picked up a trio of shutout victories in the process.

Monday, March 25, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. –  Western Washington softball made the most of its week off from conference competition, sweeping its five-game slate at the Tournament of Champions in Turlock, Calif., to be named the GNAC Team of the Week for a second time this season.

The No. 14 Vikings put on a defensive clinic against some of the best competition in the west last week, allowing just three runs while notching three shutout victories. Western Washington has enjoyed a healthy dose of success at the annual tournament in recent years, with this season’s 5-0 performance the second in program history after also accomplishing the feat in 2019. With the wins, WWU improves to 23-4 overall (2-2 GNAC) on the season.

“It’s always great to win on the road, but I’m prouder of the way our team did it this weekend,” head coach Sheryl Gilmore said. “We had rain delays, we had a game with multiple lightning delays, we were at the field for over 12 hours on Saturday, and this group just continued to focus on what they could control and compete to win the moment in front of them. They have a lot of fun with each other while also having a very business-like approach to the game without getting caught up in the outside distractions. This is a gritty group and we are excited for the journey ahead of us.”

The Vikings opened their week with a 7-0 win over Academy of Art last Friday. Freshman right-hander Alli Kimball authored the shutout from the circle, going the distance while striking out two and allowing just three hits and two walks in 79 pitches. The win was the first of three for Kimball on the week, putting her on the path to earning Tournament MVP honors.  Offensively, it was a balanced performance from the WWU lineup, with Emma Andrewjeski-Ramirez and McKenna Crum both picking up a pair of RBIs to lead the team. Crum put the first runs of the game on the board with a two-RBI triple in the top of the second.

Western Washington followed up its tournament-opening win with a 9-2 decision over Cal State San Bernardino to cap off Friday. The Vikings pulled out to an early lead once again as Andrewjeski-Ramirez and Ashley Jacobsen both came through with RBI-singles in the top of the first inning. That lead became 4-0 in the top of the second with WWU taking advantage of an error and savvy base-running to give the team a cushion down the stretch. Shortstop Hailey Rath led the team at the plate, finishing the day 2-for-4 with four RBIs, a double and a home run. Joie Baker picked up the win in the circle, throwing five innings and allowing just one earned run on three hits and walk while striking out a pair.

On Saturday, the Vikings opened the day with a 6-1 win over Cal Poly Humboldt behind another stellar starting effort by Kimball as she tossed 53 pitched across five innings and struck out a pair without allowing a run. Andrewjeski-Ramirez propelled the offense to the win with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate to finish with four RBIs en route to joining Kimball on the all-tournament team. She drove in three of those runs with a three-run long ball in the bottom of the fifth to give WWU a 5-0 lead heading into the final two frames. Humboldt’s lone run in the top of the seventh would end up being the last run the Vikings would allow in the tournament.

Western Washington closed Saturday with a 1-0 victory over No. 19 Cal State San Marcos for their third win over a fellow nationally-ranked opponent in two weeks. Baker was the key difference-maker for WWU in the win, earning the win in the circle with a complete game shutout and providing her own offensive support by driving in the Vikings’ lone run of the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. From there the defense ruled supreme with Baker racking up eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits and two walks in 104 pitches for her sixth complete game of the season.

Kimball and the Vikings closed out the week with a 2-0 win over San Francisco State with Kimball going the distance once again to finish the day with five strikeouts and just four hits allowed. On the week, Kimball posted a 0.00 ERA across 19 innings to compile a 3-0 record and improve to 8-2 on the season. Both of the Vikings’ runs on Sunday came in a scrappy second inning for the Gators where Kimball and Lexi Barcomb both capitalized on defensive errors to come across the plate.

Western Washington will return to GNAC action this week as it comes home to Bellingham to host Saint Martin’s in a pair of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.

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