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

WWU softball looks to shut out competition leading into conference championship

With only one series left, the Vikings already hold the most season wins in team history

Western Washington University Vikings celebrate a 3-2 win over Northwest Nazarene University at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash., on March 16, 2024. The Vikings split this series against NNU. // Photo by Michael Potash, courtesy of WWU Athletics.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship is almost here, and this year, it is being hosted at Western Washington University’s Viking Field in Bellingham.

Game one of the championship starts at noon on May 2, with the championship game slated for May 4. 

This season, head coach Sheryl Gilmore has led her team to a 36-6 record, leading the GNAC with a record of 16-4. This is her fifth season as head coach, she has amassed a record of 89-68 across her previous four seasons. 

“We have a group that’s very hungry,” Gilmore said. “They show up before practice, and they stay after practice.”

The team is looking to improve upon their performance in 2023 where they lost to Northwest Nazarene University 3-2 in the GNAC championship game. Two of Western’s six regular season losses came to NNU after splitting a four-game series in March.

“I think it should be a thriller to say the least,” Vikings pitcher Kaiana Kong said. 

She identified NNU as the matchup she’s most looking forward to because the team is incredibly well rounded. This season Kong has posted a 1.42 ERA across 78.2 innings pitched with 52 strikeouts.

gallery_image (2).jpg

Fans and supporters spectate Western Washington University softball at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash., on March 16, 2024. This game was a part of their four-game series against Northwest Nazarene University. // Photo by Michael Potash, courtesy of WWU Athletics.

“If I had to describe our team in one word, it would be grit,” Kong said. 

“Grit” was echoed by both the players and head coach. Looking back at the season this year, it makes sense. The Vikings are undefeated in away games (13-0) and have won 18 games where the final score was within two runs. 

“I’m feeling really confident in my team,” junior pitcher Joie Baker said. “This is one of the best teams I’ve played on.”

Gilmore said the pitching staff has bailed the team out several times this season. “Our pitchers have a really high standard for themselves,” she said. “They’ve been the rock of our team.”

This is not to overlook some of the impressive hitting numbers the Vikings have had this season. Four of the seven starting position players have hit above a .325 batting average. These big hitting numbers were showcased in Western’s series against Montana State Billings on April 12 and 13, in which the Vikings scored over 10 runs in two separate games.


Maleah Andrews, Hailey Rath, Kanilehua Pitoy and Ashley Jacobson stand facing the flag from second base on March 16, 2024. They hold hands prior to their game against Northwest Nazarene University.  // Photo by Michael Potash, courtesy of WWU Athletics.

The Vikings’ record-setting 17-game win streak ended on Friday, April 19, against Central Washington University. But Gilmore said the team has found a good balance of recognizing all the accomplishments of the season without settling, and still has the drive to win.

She added that one of the main focuses of the coaching staff this season has been to make sure their players aren’t giving in to pressure. 

“The cool thing about the postseason is that those butterflies start to creep in,” Gilmore said. “But I think our job is to make sure those butterflies fly in formation.”

With one four-game series left in the season, the Vikings look to avenge their 1-2 February loss against Western Oregon University. From there, they will attempt to capture their third GNAC Tournament Championship on May 2-4.

Ozzy Konez

Ozzy Konez is a sports and recreation reporter for The Front. He is a third-year Visual Journalism major and a member of the Western Tennis Club. Outside of school, you can find him working at the local tennis club, cooking, hiking or at the student rec center. The best place to contact him is at

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