UW Softball ranked No. 1 after perfect start to season, and hungry for more

The University of Washington softball team celebrates a win in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. (Photo: UW Athletic Department)

SEATTLE -- After finishing 3rd in the College World Series last year, the University of Washington softball team is 18-0, ranked No. 1 the nation, and has been off to one incredible start to this season.

"Being so close to our goal last year of winning a national championship, we're just more hungry to go back and win it all this year," said UW infielder Kirstyn Thomas.

Head coach Heather Tarr adds: "Our big thing is stay hungry -- a hungry Husky hunts best!" she said.

With that mentality, you might think the Dawgs began the season famished!

Not only have 11 of Washington's 18 wins been by shutout, they boast the nation's second-highest scoring offense. With Thomas hitting a sizzling .579 at the plate, she leads UW and the nation with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 29 runs scored.

"It's a coach's dream and watch her," Tarr said. "She's from Houston, Texas (and) we don't typically recruit that footprint. (She) comes in as a pitcher, doesn't necessarily get too much playing time and then finds her way in the starting lineup last year being a first baseman power hitter. She's truly one of our leaders."

Making the Huskies' success even more impressive this season is the fact that before the 2018 campaign even got going, they lost standout catcher Morganne Flores to injury.

"It was devastating as a coach (as) you have this fantasy idea of a team," Tarr said. "But you gotta go to next man up."

UW pitcher Taran Alvelo says it's made the team stronger.

"Dealing with adversity brings you together as a group," she said. "It's given (catchers) Rachel (Ogasawara) and Emma (Helm) the opportunity to really show what they've worked on and put them into the light. We're not one person, we're 21 deep."

When it comes to numbers, the team says there's only one number they're sweating, so they have another chance at a title.

"It's really cool, No. 1; No. 10 -- we just want to be in the top 8 at the end of the year (in the College World Series), playing pitch by pitch," says infielder Sis Bates.