Western Washington Sails To Early GNAC Softball Lead
Lynsey Amundson was named GNAC Player of the Week after batting .500 in the Vikings' series with Simon Fraser.
Lynsey Amundson was named GNAC Player of the Week after batting .500 in the Vikings' series with Simon Fraser.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lynsey Amundson, Western Washington
C • 5-5 • Junior • Arlington, Wash.

Amundson finished the four-game Simon Fraser series hitting .500, going 7 for 14 with two runs, six RBI and a double. Of her six RBI, five came in two-out situations as she went 5 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Amundson went 3 for 3 with three RBI in Saturday’s 7-1 win in the opener over Simon Fraser and went 2 for 4 in Sunday’s opener in Burnaby.

Also Nominated: Sabrina Hicks (Saint Martin’s), Kylie Orr (Northwest Nazarene).

Alia Stachoski, Simon Fraser
P • 5-9 • Sophomore • Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Stachoski pitched Simon Fraser to a 7-1 win over Western Washington in the series finale on Sunday, breaking a 12-game losing streak to the Vikings. In the complete game, Stachoski allowed one run on six hits and six walks while striking out seven.

Also Nominated: Kendall Goodwin (Northwest Nazarene), Makinlee Sellevold (Western Washington), Loryn Williams (Saint Martin’s).

CONFERENCE SEASON OPENS WITH BORDER CLASH: Western Washington jumped out to the early lead in the GNAC race in an otherwise light week on the diamond, taking three out of four games in the first conference series of the season.

The Vikings opened the series by taking the first two games in Bellingham on Saturday by scores of 7-1 and 10-5. Lynsey Amundson led the way in the opener, going 3 for 3 with three RBI while Alexie Levin went 2 for 4. Western Washington broke out early in the nightcap, scoring three runs in the first, and then broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth with two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth. Sarah Morrow went 4 for 4 with two runs and a RBI double in the sixth.

In Burnaby on Sunday, Western Washington scored early and often for a 7-3 win. The Vikings scored three runs in the first and followed that up later with a three-run fourth. Amundson and Kali Patterson each had two hits for WWU while Emily Benson blasted a three-run homer for the Vikings’ runs in the fourth.

In Sunday’s nightcap, it was the Clan finding their swing to end the series with a 7-1 win and to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Vikings. Taylor Gillis put the Clan ahead for good with a two-RBI double in the second. Nicole Ratel’s two-run homer sparked SFU’s three-run fourth inning. Alia Stachoski allowed one run on six hits and struck out seven in the win, good enough to college GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors.

Amundson was named the GNAC Softball Player of the Week after she batted .500 (7 for 14) with six RBI, two runs and a double in the four games. Morrow also finished .500 in the series, going 5 for 10 with three runs.

NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESSES: The three other GNAC teams in action fared well outside of conference play, going 6-2 against non-Division II action.

Concordia opened their week with a split at Division III softball power Pacific (Ore.) last Tuesday. The Cavaliers dropped the opener 7-1 before taking the nightcap 3-0. Jessica Lambourn pitched a three-hit shutout in the victory while McKenzie Smith finished 4 for 4.

Saint Martin’s opened their home schedule last Thursday with a pair of wins over NAIA Northwest (Wash.), 7-0 and 6-1. Loryn Williams threw a complete game four-hitter in the opener, striking out six, while Megan Miller went 2 for 3 with two RBI in the opener. Kim Nelson allowed just one run in the nightnap and not until the seventh inning. Jackie Schmaeling went 3 for 4 with a run and a RBI.

Northwest Nazarene opened their home schedule by going 3-1 against NAIA foe Eastern Oregon. The Crusaders took Friday’s opening doubleheader by scores of 7-1 and 7-5. Lisa Sylvester finished with five hits in the twinbill, going 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI in the opener and 2 for 4 in the nightcap.

After dropping the first game on Saturday 7-6 (with Eastern Oregon rallying for five runs in the seventh), the Crusaders bounced back for a 6-0 shutout. Kendall Goodwin threw a seven-hit shutout to improve to 4-4 on the season while Shelbie Martinez had two hits, two RBI and a double.

TOP PERFORMERS: Concordia’s McKenzie Smith went 6 for 7 in the two games at Pacific with two doubles…Jackie Schmaeling and Mary Dettling each went 4 for 6 with two RBI in Thursday’s doubleheader against Northwest…Western Washington’s Kali Patterson batted .538 against Simon Fraser, going 7 for 13 with six runs, two RBI and two doubles. She also drew five Walks…The Vikings’ Makinlee Sellevold allowed three runs on 11 hits in 12 innings, picking up two of the wins over Simon Fraser.

THEY ALL COUNT NOW: All eight teams will enter GNAC play this weekend. Northwest Nazarene will play a four-game series at Western Washington beginning on Friday. Western Oregon will host Saint Martin’s, Central Washington is at Concordia and Montana State Billings travels to Simon Fraser.

WESTERN WASHINGTON PICKED TO WIN IN PRESEASON POLL: A year after just missing a conference tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, coaches have picked Western Washington to reach the pinnacle in the 2016 Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Preseason Softball Coaches Poll.

The Vikings received five of eight first place votes, earning 61 points in the poll. Western Washington is clear and away the favorite over defending GNAC regular season champion Saint Martin’s, picked to finish second with 47 points. Western Oregon was picked third, close behind Saint Martin’s with 43 points.

Montana State Billings, who surprised the conference with a spirited run to the GNAC Tournament championship and their first trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament since 2012, was picked to finish fourth with 37 points. Central Washington finished one point behind, picked fifth with 36 points. The Wildcats were followed by GNAC newcomer Concordia (33 pts.), Simon Fraser (17 pts.) and Northwest Nazarene (14 pts.).