LACEY – As contagious as hitting can be, it’s been a big trend for Saint Martin’s softball team in recent games.
The Saints have been red hot the past two weeks. They picked up two more wins Wednesday, thanks in part to timely hitting. They swept Northwest Nazarene, 11-3 and 4-0, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader at the SMU softball field.
The Saints (22-10-1 overall, 12-5 GNAC) have won 13 of their past 15 games, including a 10-game winning streak, which ended in a 2-1 loss to Chico State last weekend in the Cal State Stanislaus Tournament of Champions in Turlock, Calif. They currently sit 11/2 games behind Simon Fraser for second place in the GNAC and 41/2 behind first-place Montana State-Billings.
Wednesday’s victories also made program history, setting the Saints’ record for wins in a season (22) with 20 games yet to be played. Since the softball program began in 1992, no Saints team had won more than 21 games. The program’s previous best season came in 2008, when it went 21-33.
“We’ve been coming together as one and playing for each other and not one individual,” said freshman Sam Munger, who went a combined 6-for-7 with two RBI in the games Wednesday.
After scoring nine runs in the first two innings on their way to winning Game 1 in five innings, the Saints’ bats didn’t come alive until the fifth inning of Game 2.
But once the offense got going, hits and runs came in bunches. Lacey McGladrey led off that fifth with a single off NNU pitcher Krista Olson, the first of four consecutive singles. Combined with back-to-back sacrifice flies, the Saints quickly had a 4-0 lead after five. SMU had a total of 18 hits in the two games.
“Once one person gets a hit, it’s almost more difficult not to get a hit after that,” said senior Morgan Klemm, who went 2-for-6 on the doubleheader with two RBI.
Klemm earned the team’s first GNAC’s player of the week honor on Tuesday after batting .556 (10-for-18) in six games at last weekend’s Tournament of Champions, where the Saints went 4-2. Klemm and teammate Joslyn Eugenio were named to the all-tournament team.
Four runs was all pitcher Taylor Bakos (8-3) needed in Game 2 to pick up her eighth win, scatting four hits and striking out two Crusaders for her second shutout.
Last year, the Saints were 9-30, but second-year coach Rick Noren said he believed this year’s squad would reach the 20-win mark. And now, goals must be revised with eight more series versus GNAC opponents the rest of April for a SMU squad that was predicted to finish last in the preseason conference poll.
“That’s what we’re doing, trying to teach them (to win),” Noren said.
SPSCC SEASON OVER
Because of a low number of players, South Puget Sound Community College canceled its softball season on Monday.
The Clippers’ roster currently lists nine players under first-year coach Shannon Stine, down from as many as 12 listed before the season began. The team’s first two games of the season March 30 versus Centralia were forfeited.
This is the second sport in two years that SPSCC has been forced to cancel for lack of players. During the 2010-11 season, the Clippers’ women’s basketball team forfeited its remaining schedule with 10 games to play because ineligibility and illness left the team with four players. The team played with six for the majority of its season under then-first-year coach Mychael Heuer.
A phone message left for athletic director Pam Charpentier was not returned.