HPU wins NCAA II Softball College World Series title
No. 3 Hawai'i Pacific used a four-run rally in the fifth inning and then escaped a tense bases-loaded predicament in the final frame to beat No. 2 Valdosta State, 4-3, today to win its first NCAA Division II Softball National Championship at Heritage Park in St. Joseph, Mo.
HPU trailed 2-0 after one inning and was held to one hit over the first four innings before putting together what would become all the runs it needed.
HPU sent 10 batters to the plate and pounded out six hits in the fifth.
Caira Pires led off with a single and Brianne Patton's sacrifice bunt moved her to second. No. 9 hitter Chante Tesoro then reached on a bunt single and Pires came around to score after a Valdosta State error.
Leadoff hitter Ciera Senas then reached on a single to force a pitching change by the Blazers, who turned to Margaret Carter in relief of starter Holly Satterfield.
However, Casey Sugihara singled to drive in Tesoro to tie it and an error by Valdosta State allowed Senas to advance to third and Sugihara to second.
Designated player Maile Kim's RBI single gave HPU the lead at 3-2 and pinch runner Pomaikai Kalakau scored on a fielder's choice to make it 4-2.
Valdosta State (50-9) got a run back in the bottom of the inning. Amber Shaw ledoff with a single and scored on a throwing error by Senas in leftfield.
The Blazers threatened in the bottom of the seventh after it got back-to-back singles by clean-up hitter and First Team All-American catcher Alyssa Shirey and Stephanie Carlson.
Colette Rollins then worked a walk, but pinch hitter Amy Brightwell lined to Pires at third for the second out.
First Team All-American pitcher Sherise Musquiz then got April Hutchins to fly out to centerfielder Kozy Toriano for the game's final out.
Valdosta State got on the board early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Morgan Johnson hit a one-out single through the left side of the infield and Marti Littlefield followed with a double to rightfield that put both baserunners in scoring position. Shirey then drove in both runners on a line-drive, double that went over Toriano's head in centerfield.
Musquiz allowed three runs on 10 hits to improve to 34-3 on the year.
HPU got runners on base in the first three innings — including leadoff walks in the first and second — but couldn't bring them in.
The Sea Warriors (50-8) went 4-0 in the in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The Blazers (50-9) went unbeaten in their bracket, setting up the championship.
Hawai'i Loa College won the NAIA national softball title in 1991. It merged with HPU in 1992.
The Sea Warriors return to Honolulu tomorrow at 3:40 p.m. on United flight 43 from Denver.
NCAA Division II Softball Championships
At Heritage Park
St. Joseph, Mo.
North Georgia 4, Molloy 0
Valdosta State 7, Bloomsburg 5
Hawai'i Pacific 3, Wayne State 1
Angelo State 10, Metro State 3
Valdosta State 6, North Georgia 1
Hawai'i Pacific 1, Angelo St. 0
Bloomsburg 2, Molloy 1 (Molloy eliminated)
Metro St. 1, Wayne St. 1 (Wayne St. eliminated)
Angelo St. 5, Bloomsburg 4 (Bloomsburg eliminated)
Metro St. 4, North Georgia 1 (No. Georgia eliminated)
Valdosta St. 3, Angelo St. 2 (Angelo St. eliminated)
Hawai'i Pacific 7, Metro St. 2 (Metro St. eliminated)
Hawai'i Pacific 4, Valdosta State 3