Home Teams Reign Supreme On The Softball Diamond
Saint Martin's Malia Pinder earned her second GNAC Player of the Week award of the season after she batted .545 in three games.
Saint Martin's Malia Pinder earned her second GNAC Player of the Week award of the season after she batted .545 in three games.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – In a manner of speaking, it was a great week for the home team in the first week of competition for GNAC teams against fellow conference teams.

Over the final weekend of February, the home team won eight of the 11 games played. This included Simon Fraser, who was the designated home team in a doubleheader against Central Washington on Saturday. Originally scheduled to be played in Burnaby, the games were moved to Ellensburg due to unplayable field conditions.

Northwest Nazarene opened its home schedule by taking three of four games from Western Washington. On Friday, the Nighthawks won the first game 4-0 thanks to a two-run double by pinch-hitter Charlotte Forniss that punctuated a four-run sixth inning. Sophomore Sidney Booth earned the complete-game win, allowing eight hits and striking out seven.

The Vikings rebounded to win Friday’s second game, scoring in each of the first five innings of the contest. Senior Chantelle Shimabukuro went 3 for 4 at the plate and had two doubles, including an RBI double in the third. Senior Kira Doan limited NNU to three hits to earn her third win of the season.

The Nighthawks took both of Saturday’s games by scores of 8-5 and 9-5. The Nighthawks scored seven runs in the first two innings of the opener, including three in the first on a bases-clearing double by senior Abigail Gagnon. In the second game, the Vikings took the lead with a four-run third inning thanks in part to a two-run double by Shimabukuro. The Nighthawks roared back to score two runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to secure the win.

Western Oregon went 3-1 last week. The Wolves concluded a six-game trip to Hawaii on Monday, splitting with Chaminade. They were 4-1 winners in the opener, putting two insurance runs on the board on a two-run single by sophomore Sophie Franklin.

On Saturday, Western Oregon held the Montana State Billings offense without much pop, scoring a pair of run-rule victories in Monmouth. The Wolves used a seven-run third inning in the opener en route to the 10-2 victory. They scored six runs in the second inning of game two and limited the Yellowjackets to just two hits in a 9-0 victory. The offense was punctuated by a three-run homer by senior Logan Carlos and a pair of homers by sophomore Natalie Willoughby.

A scheduled doubleheader between the Wolves and Yellowjackets on Sunday was canceled due to rain.

Junior Chelsea Smith was selected as the GNAC Softball Pitcher of the Week after she earned two victories, allowing three runs on eight hits in 11 innings. She allowed one run on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings in the win over Chaminade on Monday. She also earned the victory in the first game against MSUB, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks with nine strikeouts.

Saint Martin’s opened its home schedule with a split against Central Washington on Friday, winning the opener 6-2 before dropping the nightcap 1-0. The Saints broke open the opener in the second inning thanks to an RBI double by sophomore Destiny Conerly. They added two insurance runs on a two-run single by sophomore Olivia Schmidt.

One run was all it took for Central Washington in the second game with junior Myiah Seaton knocking home freshman Karsyn Decker with an RBI single in the first. Senior Isabel Womack threw a three-hit shutout in the victory.

On Sunday, Saint Martin’s and Simon Fraser engaged in an extra-innings slugfest in Ellensburg. The teams combined for 26 hits in the game, which included a grand slam and a solo homer by Saints sophomore Malia Pinder. It was a home run that decided the game in the ninth, with a two-run shot by Conerly securing the 12-10 victory. The second game of the doubleheader was suspended due to darkness in the third inning.

Pinder was selected as the GNAC Softball Player of the Week for the second time this season. In three games, Pinder batted .545, going 5 for 11 with six hits, six RBI and the two home runs against Simon Fraser.

Simon Fraser opened the week by taking a trio of tough losses to Cal State San Marcos in Southern California. The team was expected to open its home schedule over the weekend, but saw its games moved from Burnaby to Ellensburg, Washington due to unplayable field conditions.

Batting as the home team against Central Washington on Saturday, Simon Fraser quickly neutralized the Wildcats’ home-field advantage. They trailed 7-6 in the opening game before coming alive for a nine-run sixth inning with sophomore Georgia Ogg’s two-run double ending the game by run rule.

The sixth inning was the winning one for SFU again in the second game, breaking the game open with six runs on a two-run double by junior Hanna Finkelstein and a three-run homer by junior Hannah Boulanger.

Inclement weather is affecting both Simon Fraser and Montana State Billings for the second week in a row with the teams’ scheduled four-game series in Billings canceled due to unplayable field conditions.

Provided that the weather dries out in the western valleys, the rest of the GNAC will engage in one more week of non-conference games before the conference schedule commences. Central Washington will host Northwest Nazarene for four games on Friday and Saturday. Western Oregon hosts Western Washington on Friday before traveling to Saint Martin’s on Saturday. The Saints will then head north to Bellingham on Sunday to play Western Washington.

Malia Pinder, Saint Martin’s
IF • 5-2 • So., Bothell, Wash.

Pinder batted .545 in a 2-1 week for the Saints, going 6 for 11 with two runs, two home runs and six RBI. She went 2 for 3 with an RBI single in Friday’s 6-2 opening-game victory over Central Washington and went 1 for 3 in the nightcap. In Sunday’s 12-10, nine-inning win over Simon Fraser, Pinder went 3 for 5 with a grand slam that punctuated a five-run second for the Saints before hitting a solo homer in the fourth.

Also Nominated: Marin Penney (Montana State Billings), Emma Mulligan (Northwest Nazarene), Chelsea Hotner (Simon Fraser), Natalie Willoughby (Western Oregon), Chantelle Shimabukuro (Western Washington).

Chelsea Smith, Western Oregon
P • 5-7 • Jr. • Tacoma, Wash.

Smith picked up two wins in the circle for the Wolves, compiling a 1.91 earned run average over 11 innings. She earned the win in Monday’s 4-1 win at Chaminade, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. She also earned the complete-game win in Saturday’s 10-2, five-inning win over Montana State Billings, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and nine strikeouts.

Also Nominated: Alyssa Etheridge (Montana State Billings), Sidney Booth (Northwest Nazarene), Kylie Parsons (Saint Martin’s).

Copyright ©2024 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved.