HSU softball returns to Nationals with West Region win
ARCATA, Calif. – Humboldt State softball defeated Dixie State, 8-6, Friday and captured its second straight West Region Championship. The Lumberjacks will advance to the NCAA National Championships May 25-29 in Salem, Va.
HSU plated two runs in the first two innings despite not recording a hit in either frame. Winona Vigil scored a run in the first with the help of a Dixie State fielding miscue, and Kelly Sonneman drove in the second run on a fielder's choice the following inning.
A second-inning scoring barrage from Dixie State's potent lineup erased HSU's 2-0 advantage and gave the Trailblazers a commanding 6-2 lead. The scoring effort was sparked by a two-run homer from catcher Jessica Gonzalez and a two-run triple off the bat of Janessa Bassett. Bassett's hit and an RBI single from Dani Bartholf spelled the end of the afternoon for HSU ace Madison Williams.
Coming off another impressive pitching performance Thursday afternoon, Williams was treated to an offensive outburst from the Trailblazers and a tight strike zone. The senior lasted just 1.1 innings and surrendered six runs on five hits in her shortest start of the season.
Kalyn Paque relieved Williams and silenced Dixie State's offense for the remainder of the game, but HSU still needed to overcome its four-run deficit.
Dixie State turned to Alexis Barkwell in the circle Friday. Barkwell worked through the first two innings without giving up a hit, but she was unable to escape the third. A walk, single and hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out and forced the Trailblazers' coach Randy Simkins to make a call to the bullpen.
Arguably the biggest move of the game was Dixie State's decision to bring on reliever Alexandria Melendez for her first appearance since April 29. The Jacks cashed in on the pitching change with a bases-loaded walk and a pair of RBI singles to even the game at 6-6.
Brooklyn Beardshear got the call to the bullpen four batters later and struggled with her control. She hit the first two batters she faced, Vigil and Sydney Roberts, giving the Jacks an 8-6 lead.
Paque allowed just two hits in 5.2 innings of scoreless relief and earned her 17th victory of the season.