Lady Buffs use four-run first inning to claim South Central regional victory
CANYON, Texas -- The Lady Buffs used a four-run first inning highlighted by a leadoff first pitch home run by Alyssa Lemos to claim the program's second South Central Regional championship on Sunday afternoon against the Mustangs at Schaeffer Park. West Texas A&M moves to 54-6 on the season while Midwestern State ends their season at 31-24.
The victory gives the Lady Buffs their 54th win of the season to tie the Lone Star Conference single-season record held by the 2011 Midwestern State team who finished the season at 54-14 with a trip to the NCAA Division II College World Series.
The second game started off with a bang as Alyssa Lemos drove the first Holmes offering that she saw down the left field line for the leadoff solo home run, WT wasn't done yet as Jessica Sipe and Allie Cranfill drove in runs with RBI singled followed by a Mallory Wyatt single to center to load the bases with one out. Lacey Taylor flied out to the wall in left field to drive in Sipe from third with the sacrifice fly to stretch the WT lead to 4-0 after one inning of play.
WT added to their lead in the home half of the second inning as Kaisha Dacosin singled to left field with two outs and Renee Erwin on second as MSU threw the ball home followed by an attempt to get Dacosin advancing to second as Erwin broke for the plate and scored stretch the WT lead to 5-0 after two innings.
The Mustangs registered their first hit and baserunner of the game in the top of the fourth inning with one out as Halie Howerton layed down a bunt in front of the plate and beat out the throw at first followed by a Katelyn Vinson single up the middle to put runners on first and second. Rita Hokianga registered her fifth strikeout of the game to register the second out of the frame followed by a groundout to the circle as WT ended the threat to hold the 5-0 lead.
The Lady Buffs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as they continued to score at-will with two outs as Dacosin and Sipe registered back-to-back RBI doubles to stretch their lead to 7-0. Hokianga continued to roll thru the MSU lineup in the top of the fifth inning as she forced a lineout to right followed by a liner to Brittany Gehle at second base and a groundout to the circle to hold onto their 7-0 lead.
MSU wouldn't go down without a fight a they plated their first run of the nightcap in the top of the sixth inning with one out on a Katelyn Vinson RBI groundout to Lemos at shortstop, Hokianga would walk Kelley Schaefer while Kim Jerrick stole third base to put runners on the corners for the Mustangs before WT's junior left hander registered her sixth strikeout to send the teams into the bottom of the sixth with the Lady Buffs leading 7-1.
The top of the seventh inning saw the Mustangs plate another as Krisha Hamm singled thru the right side with no outs to score Shelby Carter from third base but Erwin had different plans for the other base runner as she gunned down Baylee Voigt at home for the first out followed by Wyatt firing to Lemos at short for the second out as Hamm tried to advance. Erwin ended the game with a diving play in the right center field gap on a ball hit by Erin Knox to give the Lady Buffs the South Central Regional Championship 7-2.
Hokianga picked up the win in the circle (24-2) for the Lady Buffs, giving up two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in the complete game victory.