CWU Baseball falls short in GNAC tournament


Tanner Gunnells

Senior pitcher Dom Baker attempts to bring CWU back from a 5 run deficit against Montana State Billings University in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Austin Lane, Staff Reporter

“I’m proud of ‘em,” Storey said about the seniors after their final game in a Wildcats jersey. “They never quit… Nobody hung their head and they just kept getting after it. That’s all you can ask.”

After the post-game meeting, players started hugging each other. Senior shortstop Chris Dalto got some pictures with other players and coaches after his final time playing on the CWU baseball field.

“One thing I wanna leave behind is me being funny and always enjoying your time out here and never take anything for granted,” Dalto said. “Baseball’s about having fun… you gotta enjoy it.”

Senior right fielder James Smith III wrapped up his CWU career this season. He earned GNAC baseball Player of the Year, boasting a .348 batting average and hitting 10 home runs and 48 RBIs.

“For me it’s a tremendous honor,” Smith said. “I know I’ve had a long road here, even from my junior college. To be able to be a Wildcat and show the boys that hard work will make it possible and hopefully be a leader to them, it’s a huge honor for me.”

Out of the team’s 27 wins, six of them came when the team trailed entering either the sixth or seventh inning. Smith was proud of the team for fighting to win every game this season, no matter how many runs the team was down.

“We never give up. Our fight is our biggest trait,” Smith said. “Even until that last inning, we’re not beaten until they get 27 outs in the game.”

This year, CWU Baseball was comprised of 13 seniors, five juniors, 12 sophomores, and seven freshmen. Smith acknowledged his team’s potential and said that he is excited for the future of CWU Baseball.

“These boys still have it in them… sometimes that’s all you need in baseball,” Smith said in regard to the team’s hard work and never-give-up mentality.

CWU ended with an overall record of 27-26. In conference play, they had a 21-19 record. Their longest winning streak of the season was early in the year with nine wins in a row. In the streak, they won their last two games against non-conference opponents Corban University, swept Northwest Nazarene University in a four-game series and took the first three of four from Concordia University; a team they would eventually eliminate from the GNAC tournament.

Ending the year with their loss to MSUB was much different from the end of the regular season, where CWU beat MSUB 11-4 in the second to last game, and winning the final regular season game over MSUB by a whopping 21-6.

In that impressive win, CWU scored five earned runs off starting pitcher Jared Winslow before MSUB took him out of the game after just two innings. In the GNAC tournament however, it was a different story for Winslow. He only gave up four earned runs over six innings, and struck out six Wildcats as opposed to the one strike out he got merely six days earlier against a similar CWU batting lineup.

In the GNAC tournament, CWU lost their first game to Western Oregon after having a 2-6 record against them in the regular season. They then eliminated Concordia, who they split their regular season series with at four wins each. Before s being eliminated by MSUB in the third round after a 3-5 regular season record.