After Winning First Title, CWU Named Team of the Week
Central Washington celebrates after winning the 2014 GNAC Baseball Championships. Stuart Fewel (top) earned the win in the championship game.
Central Washington celebrates after winning the 2014 GNAC Baseball Championships. Stuart Fewel (top) earned the win in the championship game.

Monday, May 12, 2014
by Evan O'Kelly, Media Relations Assistant

PORTLAND, Ore. – For more than a decade Great Northwest Athletic Conference baseball was owned by a single school, with the red and black colors of Western Oregon taking home 13 consecutive regular season titles.

In the first ever GNAC Championship tournament in 2013, the Wolves found themselves in a precarious situation, needing two wins over Central Washington on the final day in order to preserve their pristine record.

Against the odds, WOU pulled off two wins on the final day of the 2013 championship, leaving the taste of victory just out of reach of the distraught Wildcats. 

When the 2014 championships developed into the same scenario, CWU remembered the feeling of letting the championship trophy slip through its fingers.

The Wildcats had defeated the Wolves 7-3 on Day 1 of the tournament, entering the second day needing just one victory to claim the 2014 title.

“We knew we had to come out ready to play,” CWU head coach Desi Storey said regarding Saturday’s championship game. “We talked about it before, and we knew that Western Oregon is a great program. We got some hits early and got out to a good lead.” 

Scoring five runs over the first two frames, the early advantage proved to be more than enough support for Wildcat senior right-handed pitcher Stuart Fewel.

“Stuart was spot on, and he kept us right there the whole game,” said Storey. “He makes it tough for hitters to get anything going when he’s pitching down in the zone like he was.”

Fewel was excellent in his final collegiate appearance, throwing seven plus innings and allowing no earned runs and five hits, with one strikeout and zero walks.

“It’s huge, we all know that Western is a great team,” Fewel said regarding the victory. “It’s awesome that we could finally take one home.”

CWU bolstered its early lead in the championship game with four more runs in the fifth inning, eliminating the chance of a repeat of the 2013 Championships.

“Against a team like that we knew we had to get out first,” said CWU left fielder and Championship MVP Joe Castro. “Stewart did an amazing job the whole day. He kept putting zeros up on the board.”

WOU mustered a single run in the seventh inning, but that was all the Wolves got as CWU cruised to the 9-1 victory. The Wildcats have earned GNAC Team of the Week honors for the accomplishment.

“Last year they took two games from us,” Castro said. “The seniors and guys that came back this year knew that we weren’t going to let that happen again. We knew we had to end it today in this first one, and we had to come out with our ‘A’ game.”

The Wildcats defeated Saint Martin’s 2-0 on Friday behind a spectacular complete game shutout by GNAC Pitcher of the Year Brandon Williams.

Beyond giving CWU its first win of the tournament, the victory marked No. 500 for the 24-season veteran Storey. While the milestone was significant, it was win No. 502 that meant the most to Storey and the CWU program.

“It’s just a great tribute to these guys,” Storey said. “I’m proud of the seniors last year and the new guys that came in. The coaches have worked very hard and kept focused, and they have always fought hard.” 

The color representing the GNAC baseball champion turned from red to crimson, and Storey and the Wildcats put a finishing touch on a year to remember. “It was a great season, I am proud of them.”