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Let’s talk softball ...

02/19/2018, 6:15am PST
By Tom Mauldin

No doubt about it, 2017 an impressive year for Fastpitch Northwest alumni and a quick look at the opening of collegiate teams in 2018 looks like the region will be making news again.

Here’s a plethora of factoids looking back:

Fastpitch NW alum Sabrina Boyd, who junior at Corban University (Salem, Ore.) was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Year. Boyd was 23-6 with a 1.73 ERA. And teammate Jessie Isham was named Newcomer of the Year, hitting 18 homers and driving in 65 runs.

Isham was named second team NAIA All-American and Boyd was selected NAIA All-American honorable mention.

Oregon and Washington qualified for the Women’s College World Series and made it to the final four before losing to behemoths Florida and Oklahoma.

Corban and Southern Oregon finished one-two in Cascade Collegiately Conference, won their regionals and placed in the top 6 at the NAIA Women’s Championships with Corban reaching the finals only to lose to defending national titlist Oklahoma City University, winners of 68 of its 69 games last season.

Oregon Institute of Technology, which beat College of Idaho to take third in the CCC, reached the finals of its Regional event before losing.

Western Washington won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament and advanced to a round one regional before being eliminated.

PeEll-Willapa Valley, coach by Fastpitch Northwest director Ken Olson, captured the Washington state 2B title and finished the season with a 28-1 record. The only loss was a one-run affair with 1A Montesano, which won the state 1A title with Fastpitch NW alum Samantha Stanfield in the circle. Stanfield has signed with Central Washington.

PeEll-Willapa Valley’s Britney Patrick was named to MaxPreps’ Freshman All-American team. Patrick was first team All-League, All-Area and finished seventh in Washington in hitting with a .653 average. She had 47 base hits with 15 doubles, seven triples and five home runs as the Titans won the state B2 title with a 25-1 record. Patrick drove in 42 runs and scored 43.

College of Idaho’s Hailey Chambers, first team NAIA Academic All-American. She is now studying medicine at Duke University.

Pendleton (Ore.) and Hood River Valley (Ore.) high schools played one another five times this season with Pendleton getting the edge, 3-2. In those match ups, FPNW alums Lauren Richards and Hannah McNerney combined for 131 strikeouts (70 by McNerney and 61 by Richards). Both seniors were named all-state 5A.

Now looking ahead, the Northwest’s three PAC-12 teams got off to an impressive start, combining to go 15-1. Oregon went 6-0, Washington 5-0 and Oregon State 4-1. The most impressive aspect of their starts were a combined 167 runs. The Huskies also tossed four shutouts in their five lopsided wins.

In the CCC, OIT got off to a 4-0 start with a roster filled with several FPNW alums.

Former FPNW alums Colette Robert (named the CCC’s Pitcher of the Week) and Micah Fortune opened big for COI with Robert going 4-0 during the opening weekend Fortune collecting nine hits in 14 at bats in her debut. Unfortunately for Fortune, she broke her fibula during a recent practice and is lost for the season.

While the PAC-12 and most teams in the CCC and GNAC have opened their seasons, the eight-team Great Northwest Conference kicks off the week of Feb. 16. Teams in the Division 3 conference include Washington schools Pacific Lutheran, University of Puget Sounds, Whitworth and Oregon schools Lewis & Clark, George Fox, Linfield, Willamette and Pacific.

The Big Sky Conference, an NCAA Division 1 affiliation, is home to Portland State, Montana, Idaho State, North Dakota, Weber State, Sacramento State, Southern Utah and Northern Colorado.

The Northwest’s other Division 1 softball program, Seattle University, is a member of the Western Athletic Conference along with New Mexico State, Bakersfield, Utah Valley, Kansas City and Grand Canyon University.

During its opening weekend, Seattle went 3-2 with one-losses to Notre Dame and Nebraska and routed PAC-12 member Stanford, 13-9.

The GNAC, an NCAA Division 2 conference consists of Western Washington, Central Washington, Saint Martin’s, Concordia-Portland, Western Oregon, Montana State-Billings, Northwest Nazarene and Simon Fraser (British Columbia, Canada).

The CCC, an NAIA consists of Corban, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Northwest Christian, Northwest University, Oregon Institute of Technology, College of Idaho, Carroll College, British Columbia University and Providence University (formerly the University of Great Falls). Walla Walla University will be a member in 2019.

The Northwest Athletic Conference, an affiliation of two-year college, opens its season Feb. 24-25 with a preseason tournament in Richland, Wash.

Most high schools in the Northwest don’t begin practice until late February.

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