SMU Saints battle out NNU Nighthawks in softball series as seniors celebrated


The Saint Martin's University softball team paid tribute to the seniors in their final playing year for the Saints with a hard-fought battle against Northwest Nazarene, to which they won once in a four-game series last weekend at Saints Field here in Lacey.

Four SMU seniors were celebrated in the Saints’ final home series in this year’s softball regular season, which were #2 Tia Ridings, #5 Destiny Conerly, #7 Vanessa Smoke and #10 Britney Patrick, during the final game of the series last Saturday, April 13th.

It was a rough series for the Saints, who were vying for a GNAC championship qualification slot against the Nighthawks, who enjoyed their No. 17 rank in the overall standings.

NNU blitzed an early 4-0 lead in game 1 of the series, thanks to efforts from Emma Bumatay, Clarissa Moreno, and Abigail Gagnon, before the Saints put in a consolation run in the final inning. Britney Patrick doubled down the right field line to give the run to Mia Zachary from the second base, as the Nighthawks took care of game 1 Friday afternoon.

Mia Zachary prepares to sprint from the base.
Mia Zachary prepares to sprint from the base.

Determined to avenge their series opener defeat, the Saints got off to a great start in Game 2. They loaded the bases right in the first inning to force an early score, with Amanda Peterson singling to right center and batting in for Britney Patrick to draw first blood.

Fortune favored the Saints in this Game 2 opening salvo as two runs were handed to Kekai Schults and Amanda Smoke in the second inning after batter Ashley Goodale doubled down the right field line, making it 3-0.

Ashley Goodale as the designated batter.
Ashley Goodale as the designated batter.

But a determined NNU crawled back slowly in the following innings until tying at 3-3 in the sixth. Then, fully regaining the lead in the sixth after Jami Obringer singled through the left side, giving two runs to Kaylee Duncan and Lynsey Chiala, they regained the lead and took over game 2.

On Saturday afternoon, Game 3 was the same struggle for the Saints, who were pounced on 2-0 by the Nighthawks. Despite this, SMU had some good hits, with Zachary singled by a bunt in the bottom of the third and another from Goddale in the sixth.

But perhaps it’s saving the best for last for the Saints as they finally get the dub in the final game of the series on Saturday afternoon, playing the hardest with another fantastic intro and holding their early lead until the end. Heather Ebner started proceeding with a home run early in the first, while Destiny Conerly doubled to the right field to give the run to Shelby Lawson, and Goodale singled to shortstop and give the run to Conerly, ending the series with a resounding 3-0 win on seniors' day.

Tia Ridings, one of the seniors honored on SMU Seniors’ Day, pitches for the Saints.
Tia Ridings, one of the seniors honored on SMU Seniors’ Day, pitches for the Saints.

Saint Martin’s improves to 21-18 overall and 12-8 on GNAC schools and enters third place in the conference standings this week. It has a four-game lead above Western Oregon and Central Washington as they vie for the final two slots for the GNAC championship.

The Saints had a bye week this weekend and will go again on the final matchday at Montana State on April 26 and 27 for the last four-game series this regular season and a possible cementing of their GNAC championship berth.

The GNAC playoffs will be played on May 2-4 at Viking Field on the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, to determine the recipient of the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here