HPU drops opener, 5-0
• Photo gallery: Hawaii Pacific University softball
By Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
KĀNE'OHE — Today is a new day for the Hawai'i Pacific softball team.
But the chase will continue.
The Sea Warriors struggled to play catch-up yesterday afternoon against an overpowering pitcher, losing 5-0 to Chico State in an NCAA Division II Super Regional at Howard A. Okita Field.
HPU (44-8) needs to beat Chico State (33-19) twice today starting at 11 a.m. to win the Super Regional. Chico State needs just one win to clinch a trip to the Division II finals in St. Joseph, Mo.
"Today is history, nothing we can do about it except to prepare for the next one and that's what we intend to do," HPU coach Bryan Nakasone said. "We made a couple errors early in the game and were chasing from the beginning. But that shouldn't have mattered in my opinion. That pitcher just overpowered us today."
The Sea Warriors were unable to capitalize on the few opportunities they had against Chico State pitcher Kacie McCarthy, who allowed just four hits and struck out four. HPU loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and fifth innings, but Sherise Musquiz grounded out to McCarthy to end the first inning and Maile Kim flew out to right field to end the fifth.
"We were just working in and out today with screws, curves and drops, and going at each batter one at a time," McCarthy said. "It really seemed to work today."
The Sea Warriors stranded a runner on base in the sixth and hit into a double play to end the game. In the seventh, HPU's Ciera Senas hit a liner to third baseman Rebecca Johnson, who threw to second base to double off Chelsea Luckey.
"We have to make our adjustments at the plate and move around on the dish a little bit so we can see better pitches," Nakasone said.
Kelly Head's two-run single to right field gave Chico State a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Wildcats added runs in the third, fourth and fifth, using both the bunt and hits to the outfield to put runners on base and move them around.
"We were able to hit their pitcher (Musquiz)," said Chico State coach Angel Shamblin, who played two years at Brigham Young-Hawai'i. "I know she's put up some amazing stats this season (Musquiz is now 27-3). The fact we were able to score five runs was huge for us."
The Sea Warriors prevailed in a must-win situation in last Sunday's West Regional. After losing the first game to Central Washington, HPU came back to win the second game to advance to the Super Regional. Today's situation won't be any different.
"Last time they were relaxed, they bit their tongue a little bit and came back strong, came back more relaxed and more confident in what they were doing," Nakasone said. "Of course that led to a better performance."