SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northwest Conference softball series between Whitworth and George Fox will shift south to Newberg, Oregon due to heavy snow-cover at Whitworth's Diana Marks Field. The teams will play the games as scheduled, with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, just in the adjusted location.
Watch the Pirates' softball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.
Whitworth and George Fox will play next year in Spokane instead of Newberg to make up for this year's adjustment.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 5-3 after opening the season with eight games in Southern California. The Pirates split a doubleheader at defending SCIAC champion Claremont-Mudd-Scrips, then dropped a pair of one-run decisions at La Verne on February 9th. Whitworth rebounded with dominating sweeps of Chapman (Feb. 10) and Redlands (Feb. 11), all decided by the NCAA run rule.
Drea Schwaier-Wolf started four games in the circle and went 3-1 with a 0.55 ERA. She struck out 12 and walked four in 25.2 innings and was named the NWC's softball pitcher of the week for her efforts in California. Madelyn Carlson also made four pitching starts and finished 2-2 with a 2.38 ERA.
Whitworth got some strong performances at the plate as well. Sarah Gayer batted .417 with two triples and two doubles and led the squad with six walks. Michelle Silva hit .357 and drove in 11 runs to lead the Pirates in RBIs. Rheanne Lewis hit .360 with 10 RBIs and five stolen bases.
Defensively the Pirates committed eight of their 12 errors over the first three games, but settled down with only four errors over the final five games.
The Opponents: George Fox is coming off the best season as an NCAA DIII member in school history. The Bruins finished 35-11 and shared the Northwest Conference title with Linfield after posting a 21-4 mark in Northwest Conference games. Jessica Hollen was voted by her colleagues as NWC Coach of the Year.
GFU returns three first team All-NWC honorees in senior C Alyssa Gonzales, junior 2B Aaliyah Kautz and junior OF Roni Braun.
The Bruins have not played a game since February 3rd when they were swept (11-1, 8-2) in a double header by NAIA-member Oregon Tech. Last season GFU took all four regular season games against the Pirates and also defeated Whitworth 10-3 in the NWC tournament.
Slammin' Silva: Michelle Silva is closing out one of the best careers in school history. The two-time first team honoree has a .365 career average as a Pirate. She has driven in 104 runs with 34 doubles, seven triples and 16 home runs over her four seasons. Her career slugging average is .601.
The Coach: Cristal Brown is in her eighth season leading the Whitworth softball team. She has posted a record of 190-113 through her first seven years with three NWC titles to her credit (2015, 2016, 2017). Brown has coached 30 players to All-Northwest Conference recognition.