Seattle University displayed a fighting effort in the WAC Championship this year in Mesa, Arizona. The Redhawks inched in for sixth place in the tournament, after two teams they tied in the regular season lost in the last four games leading up to the conference.
Jake Prizina throws a pitch against UC Bakersfield.
This is the Redhawk’s third appearance in the WAC Championship, and they were eliminated on Friday, May 26 after losing to second-seed CSU Bakersfield by 10-4. On Wednesday, the Redhawks played Sacramento State losing 11-1, and came back with a 11-9 win against Utah Valley on Thursday.
The first game against Sacramento State on Wednesday was a tough loss that put them in the elimination bracket. Previously, the Redhawks beat the Hornets in a walk-off win last year in the WAC Championship tournament in the quarter finals, securing a 5-4 win after rallying back from a 4-0 hole. The Hornets, however, kept a consistent string of 3 runs in the first and third innings, coming out strong and proving too difficult for the Redhawks to come back.
The seventh inning proved a struggle for Redhawk defense. Against Sacramento State, the Hornets lengthened their 5-1 lead in the seventh with four runs off of four hits. Against Bakersfield, they lost a 4-3 lead they had in the home half of thefifthwhenBakersfieldscoredthree runs off of three hits in the seventh.
However, on Thursday against Utah Valley, it was the Redhawks who showed up in the seventh inning. After consistent runs since the fourth and trailing steadily throughout the game, the Redhawks were down 9-8 after the sixth, both teams scoring four runs that inning. The Redhawks continued to compete, shutting down Utah Valley with three runs in the seventh. Seattle University’s win kept their season alive to play another day.
“Our effort level at the tournament was outstanding,” Head Coach Donny Harrel explained. “Being able to get there and at least win a game gives our younger players experience in the venue and surroundings. That will be big for us in the future. I was very proud of our energy and intent, we just did not play good enough to win more games.”
The Redhawks finish with an overall 20-35-1 record for the 2017 season. Sacramento State earned the WAC Championship title, beating CSU Bakersfield 5-0 Saturday night.
Junior first baseman, Sean Sutton, was named to the WAC All-Tournament Team following the championship game, being of only two non-championship players to be selected. Sutton showed impressive play this tournament, earning a double, a home run, one RBI, scoring four runs, and drawing two walks over the three tournament games.
The program loses seniors Griffin Andreychuk, Connor Moore and Aaron Stroosma this year, but Coach Harrel has faith for the future with the younger players moving up in the program. “Our hopes for next season are that with all the younger players who were playing before they were truly ready [due to the injuries] have those experiences and failures they played through drive them this summer and next fall to take their game up a notch,” Harrel said. Next year, according to Harrel, the Redhawks hope to be more experienced and focused to “get a chance to play for something special, with that winning a WAC Championship.”
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