SEATTLE – The Huskies earned two shutout wins Sunday on the final day of the Fall Classic to sweep the three-day, six-team tournament at Husky Softball Stadium.
Junior Kasey Stanchek and senior Kaitlin Inglesby combined to blank the Central Washington Wildcats, 14-0, in 6 innings in the first game of the day. In the final game of the tournament, senior Bryana Walker throw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out 16 batters, as the Huskies shutout the Western Washington Vikings, 6-0. The Huskies pitchers held the opposition to 4 hits or fewer in each of their five games.
“It’s a big part of our fall to play in the fall games,” head coach Heather Tarr said. “I think most importantly, it teaches our team what the fall training and the winter training is going to be for, the purpose of what we’re doing. It’s all designed on competing the same way in games and in practices. Without these games, we wouldn’t understand the flow and the urgency of how we need to do things.”
The Huskies opened the scoring against Central with 3 runs in the 2nd inning. After junior Kimberlee Souza drew a leadoff walk and junior Kylee Lahners reached on an error, senior Whitney Jones singled home Souza. The next batter, senior Kelli Suguro doubled, driving in Lahners. The Huskies added a run in the 3rd on a sacrifice fly by Lahners.
In the 4th, the Huskies added 8 runs, as Jones led off with a triple, and Suguro singled her across the plate. After an out, the next seven consecutive Huskies batters reached base safely, highlighted by a two-run single from Inglesby and three-run home run by freshman Ali Aguilar.
“It was good to see some of the rookies get in there and hit some balls hard,” Tarr said.
Stanchek held the Wildcats to just two hits in 4.0 innings while striking out 8. Inglesby followed in relief of Stanchek and struck out two in 2.0 innings.
The Huskies got more outstanding pitching against the Vikings, as Walker allowed just one base runner in 7.0 innings. At one point, Walker struck out 9 consecutive Vikings batters, striking out the side in the 3rd and 4th innings.
“Bryana is just scratching the surface of how she can impact this game,” Tarr said. “Kaitlin’s the same way. The more she pitches, the better she gets. And Kasey, too. She’s a smart pitcher.”
Walker got all the run support she needed, as the Huskies hit two home runs against Western Washington. Junior Courtney Gano clubbed a two-run home run in the 5th, and freshman Bridget Raftery hit a solo home run in the 6th.
After seeing the Huskies win each of their games this weekend, Tarr said there is a lot to look forward to when the Huskies open the season next February.
“The pitching, as a whole, it was great to see all three of them be strong in all of their outings and be in control,” Tarr said. “Our dugout vibe and what our team is going to be like from the inside-out and what our team has the capacity to do when we’re together, that’s what is really exciting to me.”
On Saturday, the Huskies played two Cancer Awareness Pink games, wearing pink jerseys that were later auctioned off to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Huskies donated $2,000 – one hundred percent of the funds raised from the auction – to the Foundation, which has made over $7 million in research grants to the UW Medical Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“The breast cancer research money was awesome,” Tarr said. “It’s important for our athletes to get out into the community and understand that we can help advocate for this cause to help the Breast Cancer Research Foundation raise money that goes directly to finding a cure.”
All of the funds raised from tickets and concessions throughout the weekend went directly to help fund the Huskies recent fall trip to Leavenworth, as well as a new batting cage.
“I would just like to thank all of the volunteers that helped put this tournament on,” Tarr said. “Their support was awesome.”