SFU salutes graduating quartet in final homestand

Four members of the Simon Fraser University women’s softball team were hailed for the final time on home field Saturday, prior to dropping a close double-header to Western Oregon.

Burnaby’s own Kendra Ho and fellow seniors Hailey Gearey, Samantha Ruffett and Jessica Tate were feted with flowers and family salutes as the squad celebrated their contributions and dedication over the past four seasons.

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A valuable utility player, Ho made 95 appearances during her four seasons, as a pinch hitter and runner, as well as a pitcher. She scored 20 runs and stole eight bases, while over 21 innings picked up a win and six strikeouts. The Cariboo Hill Secondary alumna was also a member of the institute’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

An infielder, Gearey took 439 at bats and registered 124 hits, with four home runs among them. The Montreal native drove in 40 runs and stole 25 bases, and was a strong force defensively at the hot corner and in the outfield, recording 224 assists with a .930 fielding percentage. She earned a 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Conference honourable mention.

A polished player at both first base and catcher, Ruffett made 92 appearances during her stint on Burnaby Mountain, racking up 29 career hits. The Brampton, Ont. native recorded her first career collegiate home run earlier in the week, and posted a stellar .962 fielding percentage. She was a two-time GNAC All-Academic team honouree.

Tate, from Georgetown, Ont., stepped in for 27 starts as one of the Clan’s most reliable pitchers over the past four seasons. She tossed 192.2 innings, including six complete games, and fanned 47 batters, with six wins.

On the diamond, SFU opened with a 1-0 lead when Gearey scored on an Oregon error in the fifth. But the visitors replied with two runs in the top of the sixth to squeak out the victory. SFU pitchers Jessica Fasolino and Anissa Zacharczuk combined to give up 11 hits, while Western Oregon’s Haley Fabian held SFU to five hits.

In the second game, SFU pushed it to extra innings before falling 3-2 in eight innings.

Ruffett drove in the team’s first run with a single in the fourth to make it 1-1, while Western reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth. Hannah Boulanger scored the tying run, getting moved to second on Ho’s single and scoring on Kate Fergusson’s sac fly.

The game was decided when the Wolves scored on a two-out single with two runners on in the eighth, with Oregon pitcher Maddie Mayer completing an eight-inning, eight-hit win.

The Clan, who sit 4-20 in the GNAC, close the season with four games in Western Oregon.

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