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HPU Softball takes HSU-Billings series 3-1

by Baxter Cepeda, News editor

 

The HPU softball team got to within one inning of a no-hitter from junior Malia Sullivan as it won three of four games against Montana State University-Billings in a rain-hampered series at windward campus field Feb. 21-23.

The series between HPU (8-2, 3-1 PacWest) and MSUB (1-5, 1-3) opened Pac West play for both teams. Rain turned the series, originally scheduled to be two seven-inning double headers over two days, into a three-day event .

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In the first game, Sullivan dominated through the first six innings, building a 5-0 lead before a 20 minute rain delay changed her fortune. Once action resumed, MSUB’s junior right fielder Sarah Hanley opened with a single to right field ending the no hitter. The Yellowjackets tacked on two runs in the hardest rain of the day before sophomore catcher Layne Pavey flied out to center field to end the game.
 

“Malia threw a really good game (the first day),” Nakasone said. “She kept the ball down, and I think that was the biggest asset. She let her defense work for her, and we turned a couple of double plays and got her out of some bad innings.

“She got in trouble at the very end when the rain started to come. She lost control a little bit, but she regained it in time, fortunately for us, we won that one.

“The rain is crazy,” Sullivan added. “It makes it hard to hold on to the ball. You have no pitch whatsoever, so you have to hold it as tight as you can and throw it in there. Hopefully you’ll get a strike and not hit the batter.”

HPU sophomore center fielder Jamie Reyes had four RBIs, one a sacrifice fly in the second inning and the other three from a bases loaded triple in the fourth. “Jamie hit the ball well in the first game,” said Nakasone.

Sophomore catcher Anuhea Diamond went 2-2 and scored a run for the Lady Sea Warriors. Yellowjackets freshman left fielder Christi Wankel and sophomore designated hitter Theresa Campbell each had hits on Sullivan. MSUB got a complete game from sophomore Megan McCrae, who allowed five hits, five runs, four earned, and six walks while striking out four.

The second game spanned three days and 10 innings. HPU won 6-5. Down 5-2 in the fourth, they chipped away at the lead with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh off a Holly Garcia game-tying line drive homer to left field. Diamond and MSUB’s senior infielder Meghen O’Donnel were 3-5 with an RBI each.

HPU junior Jessica Parra started the second game but after four MSUB runs on four hits with three walks, she was replaced by sophomore Mallory Anderson, who finished the game, allowing one earned run, 10 hits and one walk while fanning five. Anderson had to come back to finish the job two days later after rain suspended action in the top of the fifth.

Action was called off on Feb. 22 because the field was too soggy.

“Coming back showed that we had a lot of character,” Said Nakasone. “Hopefully we can keep that up.” Sophomore Joey Ehnes, in a complete game, took the loss for the yellowjackets, allowing six runs, four earned, on 12 hits and six walks with seven strike outs.

The third game was a pitching rematch between Sullivan and McCrae, and the Sea Warriors lost it 2-4.

In the final game, HPU went up 1-0 in the first inning when senior second baseman Tascha Berinobis doubled to center off of McCrae with two outs and then was driven home by a Garcia double to right. McCrae and Parra allowed a run each for their respective teams in the second. Sophomore Jordan Waverek replaced McCrae in the top of the third. McCrae went two innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and four walks with one strike out. HPU scored the final run of the game and the series in the third inning when Diamond doubled to left field, driving in sophomore Keanolani Puchalski. For the Lady Sea Warriors, Garcia was 2-of-3 with a walk and an RBI, Berinobis was 2-of-4 with a run and Diamond was 1-of-1 with two walks, a run and an RBI. Hanley, T. Ehnes, Wankel and Pavey got hits on Parra.

Parra (3-0) allowed a run, none earned, on four hits and three walks, with three strike outs, in a complete game while Waverek, in four innings, allowed an earned run on two hits and two walks.

Nakasone said that he was pleased with HPU’s overall defense and pitching but that higher concentration is needed when batting, especially with runners on, as HPU left more than 10 runners on base in three of the four games.

“This was a really good series between the two teams,” said Jeff Aumend, MSUB’s only coach since its inception. “For us to come in here and compete with an established program like HPU is good for us.”

 
 

 

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