Northwest Colleges Hit Final Strides
By Tom Mauldin - May 7, 2021
The preps in Washington have wrapped up their abbreviated season and their Oregon counterparts are winding down their shortened seasons. But Northwest colleges are heading into the most exciting parts of their season — the playoffs.
College rosters throughout the Northwest are dotted with Fastpitch Northwest alumni. A complete list of postseason honorees will be announced soon.
Here’s a quick roundup as the postseason nears:
The Cascade Collegiate Conference kicks off Friday in Ashland with the NAIA’s No. 1 ranked team Southern Oregon University hosting the league’s top six teams, which also includes league runner up College of Idaho (Caldwell, ID), OIT (Klamath Falls, OR), Corban (Salem, OR), Warner Pacific (Portland, OR) and Eastern Oregon University (LaGrande, OR).
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference opens postseason play this weekend in Monmouth (OR) at the home of Western Oregon, which opens play against league champion Northwest Nazarene (Nampa, ID). In the other tournament opener, Saint Martin’s (Lacey, WA) takes on Western Washington (Bellingham, WA).
George Fox University (Newberg, OR), won the Northwest Conference, edging Linfield (McMinnville, OR) for the title. The Bruins open tournament play against No. 1 seed Whitworth (Spokane, WA), while Linfield meets Lewis & Clark (Portland, OR).
Fresno State (31-9, 15-3) is walking away with the Mountain West conference with two weekends of play remaining. Boise State is sitting in fifth with a 10-8 conference mark and 19-20 overall.
Weber State (23-16, 13-2) has a lock on the Big Sky Conference title and closes out the regular season against fourth-place Montana (8-7, 15-26). Portland State finished the regular season 8-10 and 11-24 overall. Idaho State (3-12, 9-27) wraps up the season against Northern Colorado (8-7, 15-26).
The Big Sky Softball Championship will be held May 13-15 at Weber State's Wildcat Softball Field in Ogden (UT). The top six teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the double-elimination tournament. The tournament champion automatically earns a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Things are far from over in the Western Athletic Conference as 11-4 Seattle University sits one game behind 12-3 New Mexico State as the season nears an end. Seattle has a three-game set with No. 3 Grand Canyon (8-7), while NMS state plays No. 4 California Baptist (7-8).
Seattle will host the 2021 WAC Softball Tournament. All eligible teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament, which will be held at Logan Field on May 13-15. This is the third time the Redhawks have hosted the event, as they did so in 2014 and 2016.
The PAC-12 race has narrowed to two teams — UCLA (13-2 in conference, 32-3 overall) and Washington (13-4, 35-9) while four others are hoping to hit hot streaks at the right time. Arizona (11-5, 31-8), Arizona State (11-7, 31-12), Stanford (11-8, 31-15) and Oregon (9-9, 31-13).
Two weeks remain before the NCAA Division 1 postseason kicks off.