Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo for The Western Front

No. 1 Western Softball opens season in California

Western Washington University softball is ranked No. 1 in GNAC preseason poll

Lauren Lo taking a swing at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash. last season in May, 2021. She and the team are looking to win the GNAC again. // Courtesy of Jeff Evans

Western Washington University softball opened up a highly anticipated season at the Concordia Kick-Off Classic where they played a five-game slate over the weekend of Feb. 4 through Feb. 6. 

Western finished the weekend with two wins and three losses. Senior pitcher Kira Doan started the season well posting an ERA of 1.05 in 13.1 innings of action. Freshman standout Joie Baker stood out as well with an ERA of 1.79 in 15.2 innings of pitching. 

Western softball is coming off winning the GNAC the season before. The campaign was due in part to recently graduated star pitcher Anna Kasner, who was West Regional pitcher of the year

Doan enters the season as the new ace for the Vikings and feels an added pressure. 

“I guess as the lone senior pitcher it is a bit of pressure; the other pitchers on the team are pretty young,” she said. “I think that I have to set that example for them.” 

Doan added that it required a change in her mindset but that it is not going to be just her. It has to be a committee, and the pitchers have to have each other’s back. 

Baker fulfilled that sentiment with a great start to the season by going 2-1 on the mound in California.

Western softball head coach Sheryl Gilmore enters her fourth season at the helm. She quickly changed the culture. She is 60-44 in the first three seasons at Western. 

Tatum Dow fielding a grounder at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash. last season in May 2021. Dow wishes to help the team win this season by continuing to hit and field well. // Courtesy of Susan Doan

Gilmore said she feels her team puts an added pressure on themselves, which makes them play tight. 

“It took us a couple of games to figure that out, but if we trust ourselves, trust each other and just play our game the way we know how, we will be very successful,” Gilmore said. 

Western has a lot of big name players returning, but an under the radar story is the depth they have. 

“I think we will see a lot of different players step up when their number is called,” Gilmore said. 

The softball team looks to win back-to-back GNAC championships. The preseason coaches poll has the Vikings picked to compete for a title once again. 

This could be because of the constant team first culture. Senior shortstop Tatum Dow, who was elected to the West Regional first team with Kasner and returning outfielder Lauren Lo, feel hopeful for team success. 

“I just hope to be as consistent as possible for my team,” Dow said. “Whatever the situation is or whatever my role is, I want to do my best to contribute to the team.”

Dow, who batted an absurd .417 last year, looks for another dominant year to help the team win. Dow opened the season batting .250 in the first five games, but she had the most hits on the team over the weekend. She finished with three RBIs which led the team as well. 

 The scores from the weekend were: 

  • Cal State East Bay won 7-2 against Western 

  • Stanislaus State won 3-1 against Western 

  • Nationally ranked Concordia won 7-0 against Western

  • Western won 7-2 against Cal State San Bernardino

  • Western won 1-0 against previously 4-0 Cal State Monterey Bay

Western softball continues the rapid start to the season with the Tucson Desert Stinger softball tournament starting Feb. 11. The team plays its first home game Saturday, Feb. 19. 

Drew McFall

Drew McFall (He/him) is a sports and recreation writer for the Western Front this quarter. He is a news editorial major with a minor in communications. He wants to be a sports journalist or broadcaster. As a reporter, he wants to focus on WWU sports teams and players. In his free time, he loves watching sports, playing sports, and running on trails. 

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Western Front