Seattle U Softball Team Slides Into Their 2019 Season

Caylah Lunning, Author

The Seattle University Women’s Softball team is getting ready to lace up their cleats for their 2019 season. The team will travel to Tempe Arizona for the Kajikawa Classic and face off against Bradley University on Feb. 8 in their season-opening tournament.

Senior first baseman Emma Mitchell put up some pretty impressive numbers during her 2018 season as she played in 17 contests as a pinchhitter, recorded four hits, and tallied a total of two RBIs.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work over the break and over the fall,” Mitchell, a criminal justice major and political science minor said. “I think we have all bought into what the program’s all about and I’m looking forward to coming out and dominating and showing them who we are.”

The Redhawks are coming off of a record-setting 2018 season. The team won 33 games in total—the most wins by a Seattle U softball team since joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and becoming a Division I program.

The team also came out victorious against two PAC-12 schools, Stanford and Oregon State University (OSU), the latter of which eventually made their way to the NCAA softball tournament.

Junior first baseman Madison Cathcart is coming off a stellar 2018 season as the then-sophomore set eight school records including the records for batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, recording 19 home runs, 20 doubles, 53 walks, 39 extra-base hits, and 496 putouts. Along with these school records she also ranked in the top 12 nationally in these eight categories as she ranked fourth in on-base percentage, fifth in slugging percentage, sixth in walks, tenth in doubles, eleventh in batting average, eleventh in home runs and total bases. Cathcart was also the first Redhawk to be selected to the NFCA All-Region.

Sophomore pitcher Shianne Smith set the Seattle U program records for opponent batting average and strikeouts per seven innings.

Redshirt Sophomore pitcher Carley Nance broke the Seattle U Division I program records for strikeouts and wins with 123 strikeouts and 14 wins.

Sophomore outfielder Ally Choate hit a school record of 42 runs and also led the WAC in regular-season hits at 67. Senior outfielder Nicole Bolasky stole 27 bases, also adding to the seemingly endless record list.

Unfortunately, the Redhawks ended their 2018 season early in WAC tournament play, falling to Grand Canyon University 7-4.

“They’re not going to be perfect yet, but we strive for that every day and they understand what the standards are here and sometimes we don’t reach them and sometimes we do.” Head Coach Geoff Hirai said. “They do a good job at bouncing back when we’re not doing it right and riding the highs when we are doing it right. The culture and everything that we do, we’re heading in the right direction.”

Despite their early exit in tournament play, Seattle U had seven players selected to All-WAC teams. Making their way to All-WAC first team was Cathcart, Senior pitcher Andie Larkins, and Sophomore outfielder Ally Choate. Then Senior shortstop Maddy Kristjanson, Nance, Senior second baseman Kaylee Rae and Sophomore catcher Bailey Thompson earned All-WAC Second Team honors. These seven players helped lead Seattle U with the most All-WAC entries.

The Redhawks are ready for redemption in the 2019 season but will have to face tough competition in order to do so. The team will face off against PAC-12 schools including OSU, Stanford, the University of Oregon along with well-known softball powerhouse University of Washington (UW). UW is coming off an amazing 2018 season in which the Huskies made it all the way to the national championship game where they fell to Florida State University. Seattle U also plays big names such as Syracuse University, Oklahoma State University, and Ohio State University.

Sports and exercise science major, Kaylee Ree made 44 starts at second base for the Redhawks during the 2018 season. Ree gives her thoughts on how the team is doing so far this year.

“This season has felt unlike any other season. Not only are we talented on offense and defense, I feel like we’re very collective as a team. We’re really progressive as a team, all at once. No matter who we play, it doesn’t really matter the name, we play to our level every game no matter who we play. We are Seattle U softball and we will play at that level every single time.”

The Redhawks welcomed six new players to the team. Five of the girls coming in as first-years and one coming in as a junior transfer from Oregon State University.

Coach Hirai, who has entered into his third year of coaching here at Seattle U gives his final thoughts on the new incoming players.

“They’ve done a great job. The freshman are doing a good job at understanding what we’re trying to do and out leadership on our upperclassman have done a good job of showing how we do things at Seattle U. They’re all bought in and it’s fun to be a part of.”

The Redhawks have a tough schedule ahead of them. However, coach Hirai and the team are ready for the challenge.

“We are looking forward to the challenge, I think that they’re up for the challenge,” Hirai said. “They are prepared, they are ready to go. It’s time to figure out we can make that jump to the next level.”

The Redhawks have their home opener March 12 at 4:00 p.m. at Logan Field against Northern
Illinois University.

Caylah may be reached at
[email protected]