Intramural softball in full swing at CWU

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A player prepares to take a swing with the bases loaded and amidst changing weather while playing in the evening on May 8.

A player prepares to take a swing with the bases loaded and amidst changing weather while playing in the evening on May 8.

Xander Fu

Xander Fu

A player prepares to take a swing with the bases loaded and amidst changing weather while playing in the evening on May 8.

Gunnar Hinds, Staff Reporter

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Softball is in full swing here at CWU. For athletes that don’t make it to varsity level in college, intramurals are a way to continue to play the game they enjoy after high school. Intramural softball, offered through the Recreation Center, is a favorite in the springtime and this year includes five different leagues.

There are three ten-on-ten competitive leagues and two ten-on-ten Co-Ed leagues. Each league has three days they can play in a week and generally each team plays two games a week.

The games are relatively short, only lasting six innings or one hour. During each inning, a team is only allowed to score five runs unless it is the last inning of the game. This keeps the scores somewhat reasonable. A batter also starts out with a one-on-one count when they step into the batter’s box. This means one ball one strike, so, it keeps the game moving at a fast pace.

The seasons only go from April 16 to May 24 with each team playing eight regular season games. The top three teams go into playoffs, and their season ends after two losses.

Each team is also given the opportunity to come up with their own team name. For teams that have been together for multiple years, the name comes with the territory.

Will Gatlin is the captain of the Swingers, the number one ranked team in their league with a undefeated record at 4-0.

“Our team is pretty talented because most of us played college baseball,” Gatlin said. The Swingers beat the Honey Nut Ichiros by nine runs last week and Gatlin struck out five batters in the six innings.

Wyley Stewart, second baseman for the Swingers, has been with the team for the last two years. He shows his talent defensively, stopping any ball that is hit to him.

“I really enjoy coming out and playing with these guys after being in school all day,” Stewart said.

Pitching can be a scary role, because they are in danger of the ball being hit back at them. The league made a rule change halfway through last year, going from a hard softball to a squishy ball. This has made the games a lot safer for the pitchers.

This rule change has also gotten some scrutiny from batters. It is harder to get a good drive on the softball.

“The softer ball is a lot harder to get decent contact with, which is making it harder to get on base,” Stewart said.

Brandon Hamilton is the catcher for the Swingers. He has had a huge impact on the team’s success in the last four games.

“I never played baseball growing up, so I enjoy learning more about the sport,” Hamilton said.

The Swingers won the championship last year and are on pace to repeat as champions. The Swingers only lost one game last season. They ended up playing the same team in the championship and won by one run.

“It was a pretty cool experience for all of us, we earned t-shirts and socks with Central’s logo and also was mentioned on the CWU Recreation page,” Gatlin said.

The Swingers only lost two players from last season from graduating.

“I think we have an advantage because we all have played with each other for a while,” Gatlin said.

Kody Michaelson is the captain of the Snowflakes. They are in a different bracket of the competitive league. The Snowflakes and the Swingers will most likely see each other in the playoffs considering both teams are currently in first place in their brackets.

“We would really like to beat the Swingers in the playoffs since they eliminated us last year,” Michaelson said.

Austin Jones also plays for the Snowflakes and typically plays shortstop for the team. Jones is the standout on the team this year. He is batting ten for eleven on the year and has two home runs.

“I played baseball all my life and the balls are a lot easier to hit when the pitcher is throwing underhand,” Jones said. Jones played college baseball at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon.

Karson Rodgers, an outfielder for the Snowflakes, said his contribution to the team includes being able to run and catch ground balls in the infield.

“I’m not a big guy so I don’t hit for power,” Rodgers said. The Snowflakes roster is filled with mostly fast players and the team prides itself on infield hits.

The games are free to watch and are held at the recreation fields right behind Student Village and at the recreation fields off 5th Ave in downtown Ellensburg.

“Not a whole lot of people come watch the games, so it would be cool to see more people coming out to watch,” Jones said.

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Intramural softball in full swing at CWU