CWU eyes the GNAC title this weekend

Sabrina Wheelhouse, Staff Reporter

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Desi Storey, head coach of CWU’s baseball team, has led the Wildcats to another successful season and landed a spot in the GNAC.

“It has been a good season overall. Obviously we have high expectations every year, but the guys have played well despite losing games we shouldn’t have, [and] they are constantly competing daily,” Storey said.

The CWU baseball team ended its regular season with a 23-17 conference record and an overall record of 29-21, which puts them at second in the GNAC behind Western Oregon University (WOU).

“I think this group has learned to keep competing until the very last out, because we don’t always play our best at the beginning but we always come out fighting in the end,” Storey said.

Going into the tournament, the team is hoping to eliminate the things that held them back in previous games and to have a focus of starting out strong and keeping that momentum until the very end.

“We are expecting to do the things as well and better as we have all season, like good pitching and a solid offense performance and to do the things we are capable of to win,” Storey said.

The Wildcats had a good season on the mound and at the plate. Strong pitching efforts from senior Jake Levin and junior Mackenzie Gaul have season earned run averages of 2.97 and 3.03, combining for a total of 104 strikeouts.

“I think we’ve improved quite a bit this season. We’ve had young guys step up and play big roles for us, they’ve come out strong out of the bullpen when we need them to and we will need that for the playoffs,” Gaul said.

The top hitters for the Wildcats include Dylan Freyre, Rory Graf-Brennen and Levin, who have hitting percentages of .379, .336, and .328 respectively. Leading the team in homeruns is Levin with a total of seven.

“I feel like our regular season ended pretty strong, but we’ve always had to battle and fight for a comeback so we have that last little spark at the end of each game. We need to carry that spark over to the playoffs in order to come out on top,” senior utility player Kyle Stahl said.   

WOU holds the top seed of the GNAC tournament and is led by junior infielder Jay Leverett. He currently holds a .322 batting average and a .988 fielding average which earned him Player of the Week for March 27.

“I’m confident in playing these teams again because it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. We’ve been able to hit, pitch and play defense so it will be a good fight and there’s nothing to be afraid of,” Stahl said.

The Wildcats first tournament game is scheduled for May 11, in Portland, Oregon.

“It’s going to be whoever is hot, every team will bring their best stuff and be focused because it’s playoffs and not regular season, it really is the next level,” Gaul said.

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CWU eyes the GNAC title this weekend