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Yakima Valley College softball batter hits pitch

Softball earns first NWAC tournament appearance

For the first time in more than 30 years, Yakima Valley College’s softball team earned a berth into the Northwest Athletics Conference Championships this spring.

Playing in the stacked East Region, the Yaks ended the season with a 6-22 conference record (11-34 overall) and claimed the No. 15 seed in the championships.

Head Coach Jason Weatherley said this year’s squad was arguably the most talented in program history.

“As they learned to play with and for each other we started to gel and come together, keeping us competitive in every single game,” Weatherley said. “Playing in such a talented region forced us to up our play not just for a series or two but for the full season.”

YVC softball second-base defender catches ball to get out against sliding runner.
TOP: Pitcher/outfielder Claire DeVries connects with a pitch during an April 2 home game versus Columbia Basin. ABOVE: Infielder Makynzee Taylor catches a Columbia Basin runner out at second base.

The Yaks started tournament play May 16 with a morning game against No. 2 seed and eventual champion Mt. Hood, falling 8-3.

“It was a tough draw but we stayed with them for seven strong innings,” said Weatherley. “I think that gave us the confidence that we could beat anyone going into game two.”

YVC softball pitcher winds up for pitch.
Freshman pitcher Briley Ingram winds up during a February 24 victory over Clark College at Dunbar Field.

In the first inning of the team’s second game, an afternoon matchup versus league rival and No. 7 Treasure Valley, the Yaks faced another test when the Chukars loaded the bases. But Weatherley said the team again showed its determination and resilience getting out of the inning without giving up a run.

“That energy and confidence really set the tone for the rest of the game and the eventual 9-0 shutout for the win,” he said.

Yakima Valley College softball players celebrate at end of inning
Left to right, Yaks infielder Makynzee Taylor, utility Madison Morrison, infielder Madison Kennedy and pitcher Glory Estabrook during the 2024 NWAC Softball Championships.

On the second day of the tournament, the Yaks fell 10-2 to No. 8 Clackamas, concluding the season but also laying the foundation for the team to build on its successes next year.

“While we made the tournament for the first time in 30 years, we still have a lot of opportunities to improve on,” Weatherley said. “Our sophomores for next year now know what it feels like to play on day two of the tournament and know we have work to do to keep it going.”

Infielders Glory Estabrook and Madison Kennedy and outfielder Alyssa Sosky were named East Region Second Team. Kennedy tied for seventh in the NWAC with 15 home runs while Sosky tied for tenth with 23 stolen bases.

Story by Dustin Wunderlich, director of community relations. Photos by Ross Courtney.