Wolves Dig Longball, Advance To GNAC Softball Final
Western Oregon celebrates Chandler Bishop after her solo home run began the Wolves' four-run fourth inning. Photo by Paul Dunn.
Western Oregon celebrates Chandler Bishop after her solo home run began the Wolves' four-run fourth inning. Photo by Paul Dunn.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

LACEY, Wash. – Two big home runs for Chandler Bishop and Destiny Kuehl proved to be the difference for No. 4 seed Western Oregon Saturday as the Wolves ousted No. 1 seed Central Washington from the GNAC Softball Championships, 8-6, Saturday at the SMU Softball Field.

The two homers, a solo shot for Bishop and a three-run shot for Kuehl, accounted for a four-run fourth inning that provided the winning runs for the Wolves. Central Washington put together a spirited five-run rally in the top of the sixth to come within one, but the rally fell short.

Kelsie Gardner led Western Oregon offensively by going 3 for with three runs and two RBIs while Kuehl went 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

With the win, the Wolves (29-23) earn the right to face No. 2 seed Western Washington in the championship game at noon on Sunday. The winner of the championship games will earn the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Central Washington, the 2017 regular season champion and defending tournament champion, dropped to 34-15. They will have to wait until Monday’s selection show to see if they will earn an at-large selection.

Just like they did in their previous game, the Wildcats wasted no time putting a run on the board. Celine Fowler led off the game with a single, advanced to second on an illegal pitch and third on a wild pitch before scoring on Taylor Ferleman’s infield single. Central Washington seemed to stall out from that point with the Wildcats leaving six runners in scoring position over the first five innings.

Western Oregon, meanwhile, got on the board with a three-run, two-out second inning rally. Bishop reached when she was hit by a pitch. Emma Alfonso walked and Kelsie Gardner followed with a double to left field to scored both. Ryanne Huffman then hit a triple down the right field line, scoring Gardner for the 3-1 WOU lead.

The Wolves broke the game open with a pair of home runs in the fourth. Bishop crushed her third home run of the season, a solo shot just over the left field foul pole. A single by Gardner and a walk for Huffman set the table for Destiny Kuehl, who smashed the ball over the left center field wall for her 10th homer of the season.

Central Washington finally put its offense together in the top of the fifth. Kailyn Campbell reached on a one-out single, Jacie McDaniels reached on an error and Julia Reuble loaded the bases by drawing a walk. Ferleman stepped up again, hitting a double to center field to score Campbell and McDaniels. Sammy Morris scored Ferleman on a single through the left side and Morris came home on Savannah Egbert’s double to right center field. Wolves’ reliever Haley Fabian quelled the rally with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

Ferleman led Central Washington offensively, going 3 for 3 with three RBIs. Fowler, Campbell and Morris each had two hits.

Sammi Cadwallader earned the pitching win for Western Oregon as she improved to 10-4 on the season. She allowed one run on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Fabian earned the save as she allowed two hits and struck out in the final 1.2 innings. Kiana Wood took the loss for Central Washington, dropping to 18-4. She allowed three runs on two hits with two walks in the first 1.2 innings of the game.