Western Washington University’s softball team won both games in its home opening series against Western Oregon University on Friday, March 5 at Viking Field.
The Vikings won the first game 5-3 and the second one 8-0 in five innings.
After Western went down early in the first game of the day, head coach Sheryl Gilmore turned to senior pitcher Kira Doan. Doan pitched 5.2 scoreless innings after Western Oregon scored 3 early.
Doan's pitching helped the Vikings stay in the game long enough to wake up the bats. Sophomore Outfielder Macy Tarbox homered in the fifth inning, which was followed by a clutch two out, two strike single by Junior catcher Rachel Christensen that tied up the game.
Fast forward to the sixth inning when freshman utility player Kanilehua Pitoy hit an RBI single to take the lead. Sophomore pitcher Sydney Brown added to the lead with an RBI single right after.
Doan finished WOU off for the win and the save. Doan said despite coming into the game down three runs, she felt calm.
“I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect going in and just aimed to do my job,” she said. “This past week we spent a lot of time working on our mental game.”
Western rode the momentum created by the last couple of innings of the first game and started hot the second game, scoring six runs in the first.
Brown followed up her clutch first game hit with a masterful pitching performance in the second.
Brown pitched five scoreless innings and gave up one hit en route to her first win of the season.
Western had seven players get hits in the dominating win. Senior infielder Dakota Brooks was one of the many bright spots with two hits and one RBI.
Brooks opened up the scoring with an RBI single to left field, but the team wasn't done. Western loaded the bases and Senior infielder Chantelle Shimaburkuro hit a base-clearing triple. Senior outfielder Rylie Wales continued the hot first inning with a two-RBI double.
Brooks said the comeback win meant a lot to them.
“We’ve been working on that a lot – trying to find that grittiest we talk about, and it was nice to be able to find it in a game,” she said.
Western had many standouts in the two wins. Gilmore talked about how impressed she was with the team.
“It was nice to have everything clicking again,” she said. “It was a complete team effort and team win.”
Western looks to keep the momentum from these two wins going as they have a long stretch of games coming up.
“If we keep having each other’s backs and playing for ourselves, I think we will be really successful,” Doan said.
Western kept the momentum going with two wins against Saint Martin’s University on Sunday, March 6 at Viking Field. Western is now 9-11 after these last four games.
Western rides a four-game winning streak going into the start of the conference games. They play Friday, March 11 at Viking Field against Northwest Nazarene University.
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.