Softball Weekly Report

Jan.28, 2015 Contact: Bob Guptill No Clear Cut Favorite In GNAC Pre-Season Coaches Softball Poll GNAC Coaches Poll 1. Western Oregon (3) Central Washington (1) 3. Western Washington (2) Saint Martin’s (1) 5. Simon Fraser 6. Montana State Billings 7. Northwest Nazarene 34-23 (18-6, 1st) 32-20 (16-8, 3rd) 30-14 (17-7, 2nd) 27-22 (15-9, 4th) 4-35 (2-21, 7th) 20-20 (10-13, 5th) 13-34 (5-19, 6th) 28 28 27 27 16 13 8 WOU lost its top two hurlers – Kelli Demianew and Eryka Brill – who made 45 starts and combined for 24 wins – but they do have three players who saw time in the circle including Jourdan Williams (5-8, Sr., McMinnville, OR) who made 17 starts two years ago. Last spring Williams played mostly at third base, but did make 11 appearances in the circle, including six as starter. She pitched 45 innings and finished with a 7-1 record and a 4.67 ERA. (Note: First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis). PORTLAND - If the coaches’ pre-season poll is any indication this spring’s GNAC softball race figures to be a photo finish. Two other returning pitchers – Stephanie Morgan (5-4, Jr., Pleasant Hill, OR) and Sammi Cadwallader (5-8, So., Toledo, OR) – each made nine appearances and combined to throw 38 innings. Just one point separates the top four teams in the poll. Defending champion Western Oregon and Central Washington tied for first in the balloting with 28 points. Two newcomers are also available for the circle Clackamas CC transfer Alyson Boytz (5-9, Jr., Noti, OR – Elmira) and freshman Lizzet Dominguez (5-8, Fr., Kent, WA – Kentridge). Western Washington and 2013 champion Saint Martin’s were just one point back of the co-favorites. All four teams received first place votes led by WOU with three. WWU earned two first-place votes in the balloting and CWU and SMU received one each. Boytz posted a 31-9 record in two seasons at Clackamas twice earning NWAACC Southern Region all-region honors. She posted a 1.89 ERA last spring. Of the remaining three teams, Simon Fraser, which welcomes back all-league pitcher Kelsie Hawkins who missed last season with an injury, figures to have the best chance to break into the Top 4 and earn a berth in the conference tournament. Western Oregon returns the fewest number of starters of any one in the league, but the quality is good. Outfielder Amanda Evola (5-7, Sr., Beaverton, OR – Westview) ranked third in the GNAC in batting last season (.403) and was the conference leader in doubles (16) and RBIs (55). The top four teams in the regular-season qualify for the tournament which will be played April 30-May 2 at Yakima. She also finished second in runs scored with 53 in earning second team NFCA and Daktronics West Region honors. Montana State Billings and Northwest Nazarene compete the poll, earning No. 6 and No. 7 pre-season rankings. Williams and second baseman Kelsie Gardner (5-8, So., Salem, OR – South Salem) were also starters. Williams batted .246 and drove in 30 runs. Following is a team-by-team review of the GNAC’s seven teams: Gardner, who earned second team all-conference honors and was selected GNAC Freshman of the Year, batted .384 and drove in 25 runs. Western Oregon (34-23, 18-6, 1st) Western Oregon coach Lonny Sargent (61-49, 2 years; Overall, 92-116, 4 years) will have to rely on a rebuilt pitching staff if the Wolves are to repeat. Only two other returning players had at least 30 at bats – first baseman Destiny Kuehl (5-8, So., Portland, OR – David 1