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by Caroline Johnson, staff writer

In what could be an omen of good things to come, the HPU softball team has claimed the title in the respected Mizuno Tournament of Champions on April 5.
Following a slow 1-3 start in the first two days of pool play, the Lady Sea Warriors proved why they are the no. 2 team in the West, and defeated Cal State-Dominguez Hills, 5-3, in the championship game.
It was a historic win for the Lady Sea Warriors, who have never won this tournament in program history.
HPU started the tournament on April 3, and faced three teams the first day.
HPU challenged one of its toughest opponents in their opening game, no. 1 in the West Region, Humboldt State. HPU fell behind two runs in the fifth inning, but performed under pressure in the seventh and tied it up to send the game into extra innings.
The Lumberjacks made a statement in the ninth inning, racking up six runs to seal the victory.
The Lady Sea Warriors had to quickly bounce back from their morning loss before facing Cal State-San Bernardino later that afternoon.
Ciera Senas and Casey Sugihara were stellar at the plate; both players went 3-4 to rack up a total of five runs and two RBIs. Their batting helped the Lady Sea Warriors cruise to a 7-1 win.
In the nightcap, the score remained the same, but HPU fell on the losing side to Sonoma State.
The second day didn’t start well for the Lady Sea Warriors, who fell to Cal State Stanislaus, 4-2.
HPU quickly rebounded in a game that would determine their playoff bracket. The Lady Sea Warriors scored four runs in the fourth, sixth, and seventh innings to defeat UC San Diego 12-3. Sherise Musquiz pitched a full game and earned her 15th win of the season, allowing three runs off eight hits.
In their quarterfinal game in the gold bracket, the Lady Sea Warriors defeated Cal State-Monterey Bay, 8-4, with back-to-back home runs by Maile Kim and Krystal Plunkett.
HPU slipped past Western Oregon, 6-4, in the semifinal game.
In the championship game, Tajia Acierto hit a two-RBI single in the fourth inning and Kozy Toriano slammed a two-run home run in the sixth to clinch the victory. Courtney Kessell earned the win.
The tournament, hosted by Cal State Stanislaus, is one of the most prestigious Division II softball tournaments in the nation. It featured 20 teams, with nine of the top 10 teams in the West Region. Three of the teams, one of which was HPU, are ranked in the top 25 Division II softball teams in the nation.
Musquiz and Plunkett were named to the All Tournament team.


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