HPU reaches DII West Sub-Regional finale
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i Pacific ace Sherise Musquiz woke up yesterday morning with flu-like symptoms .
It was nothing taking the pitcher's circle couldn't cure.
Musquiz pitched a seven-hitter and received solid defensive support in a 3-2 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay in the NCAA Division II West Sub-Regional Softball Championship at Howard A. Okita Field in Kāne'ohe.
"When I first got here, I was feeling a little sick, but as soon as I got to the mound, I didn't think about it," said Musquiz, who added she thought she had the stomach flu.
Hawai'i Pacific, ranked No. 3 in NFCA Division II Top 25 poll, improved to 43-6 overall and 2-0 in the four-team, double-elimination tournament. The Sea Warriors will play Central Washington for the title today at 11 a.m. If Central Washington wins, a second championship game will follow at 1:30 p.m.
"It's very important to win the first two games because we're in the driver's seat," said HPU coach Bryan Nakasone.
Musquiz, a senior right-hander, walked one and struck out four for HPU, the designated visiting team.
Hawai'i Pacific scored in the first on Caira Pires' two-out RBI single to center, which scored Casey Sugihara from second.
The Sea Warriors went up 3-0 in the second with the help of some shaky CSUMB defense. Nicole Morrow was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and scored an out later when No. 9 hitter Chante Tesoro hit a blooper that eluded the Otters right fielder. Tesoro reached third on the play, which was ruled a single and two-base error. Ciera Senas followed with a walk, and the Sea Warriors attempted a double steal with runners at the corners. Tesoro came in as the catcher's throw went through, and Senas reached second after the first baseman dropped the ball during a rundown.
"They make things happen with their speed and got a couple runs early," said CSUMB coach Andrea Kenney. "But we came back nicely and stayed in the game. It was just a good, hard-played, close game."
In the second, Sea Warriors shortstop Celina Garces made a nice diving grab to her left on a line drive hit by Diane Ortiz for the first out. Cat Sampson followed with a triple over the head of center fielder Kozy Toriano. Nicole Garcia drew a walk to put runners at the corners. CSUMB, the champion of the California Collegiate Athletic Association and tournament's No. 2 seed, then attempted a double steal with pinch runner Skyler Valdivia being thrown out at second and Arleen Costa, another pinch runner, scoring to make it 3-1.
Shae Olds displayed some Otter power in the fourth, blasting an opposite-field homer over the right-center field fence to cut CSUMB's deficit to 3-2.
In the Otters' sixth, Olds lined a ball into the right-center gap and Toriano made a diving catch for the second out. It was crucial because Jamie Moon and Ortiz followed with singles before Musquiz got a fielder's choice grounder to end the inning.
"Kozy in center field, she has the quickness and speed to run that one down in the game and that was all important," Nakasone said.
In the CSUMB seventh, Garcia hit a liner that shortstop Garces stabbed nicely to her left. After a ground out for out No. 2, lead-off hitter Angelina Orozco singled off Musquiz's glove. Musquiz got a strikeout to end it.
She stranded four runners, including two in scoring position, over the final three innings.
"We had a few opportunities to come back and tie the game, but their pitcher came through for them," Kenney said.
The Sea Warriors defense also came through, and Musquiz was very thankful for it.
"I have so much confidence in my defense," she said. "They all do awesome. I just try to pitch to contact and let them make the plays."
Ortiz, a junior right-hander, pitched a seven-hitter with two of the runs being unearned for CSUMB (33-19). Ortiz, who pitched a no-hitter the previous day against Hawai'i-Hilo, allowed five base runners — four singles and a walk — over the final five innings against the Sea Warriors.
"We struggled a little bit in our game today," Nakasone said. "We started off with a bang. After a while I guess we went to sleep. We just had enough to hang in there."
HAWAI'I PACIFIC (43-6) 120 000 0-3 7 1
CS MONTEREY BAY (33-19) 010 100 0-2 7 2
Sherise Musquiz and Nicole Morrow. Diane Ortiz and Shae Olds. W—Musquiz. L—Ortiz.
Leading hitters-HPU: Morrow 2-2. CSUMB: Olds solo homer; Cat Sampson triple.