WT Softball Clinches LSC Championship with Sweep of Angelo State
CANYON, Texas – The #1 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M completed the Lone Star Conference weekend sweep of the #7 Rambelles of Angelo State on their way to the program’s first outright regular season LSC Title on Saturday afternoon as WT ran their program record win streak to 23 games while finishing the regular season a perfect 29-0 at Schaeffer Park this season. The Lady Buffs move to 50-4 (23-4 LSC) while the Belles fall to 37-14 (19-8 LSC) on the season.
“Another great day at Schaeffer Park, thank you to the fans who attended Military Appreciation Weekend and the ones that have followed us all season. Really proud of this team for putting the emotions of last night behind them and coming out focused, the LSC is one of the toughest softball leagues in the country and winning the title means a lot” said WT head coach Kevin Blaskowski “Now we’ve put ourselves in a position to play at home for the rest of the season and that was a goal from day one, the games only get harder from here and we’ll have to play our best softball of the season the rest of the way.”
Friday night saw the Lady Buffs break Lone Star Conference season records for doubles (ASU ’08) and RBI (ASU ‘07/MSU ’13) while senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos tied the NCAA Division II career record for walks with former Lady Buff and teammate Meghan Brown with 168 during her final at-bat of the opener on Saturday.
The Lady Buffs have earned the right to host the 2014 Lone Star Conference Tournament, the six-team single elimination event will start on Friday morning at 11 a.m. with WT and Angelo State receiving a bye in the quarterfinal round as the Lady Buffs will take on the Midwestern State/Cameron winner at 6:30 p.m. at Schaeffer Park with the LSC Title game taking place on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Game #1 – West Texas A&M 11, Angelo State 5
The Lady Buffs started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Tyler Wilkinson took advantage of a Belles fielding error to score the first run of the game followed by a Jessica Sipe single and an Allie Cranfill intentional walk to load the bases and for the second straight day a WT senior came up big as Mallory Wyatt took a 2-1 offering by ASU’s Mary Kate McKay over the right field wall for the grand slam to stretch the Lady Buff lead to 5-0 after one complete inning of play.
WT added to their lead in the home half of the second inning as Renee Erwin singled to left field with one out on a full count to drive in Alyssa Lemos from second base who walked earlier in the inning, the Lady Buffs looked to add more but a nice plat at shortstop by Ambra Hill who made the grab on a line drive up the middle and stepped on the bag for the double play with WT leading 6-0.
The Belles responded in the top of the third inning with their first run of the contest as Micherie Koria singled to center field with one out to plate Hill from third base, Cranfill made a huge defensive grab on a ball down the first base line to tag the base for the second out followed by a groundout to Sipe at the hot corner to end the inning with the Lady Buffs leading 6-1. ASU threatened again in the top of the fourth inning with runners on second and third with one out before Hannah Newcomb forced a groundout to the circle followed by a grounder to Brittany Gehle at second to end the threat with WT leading 6-1.
Angelo State made it interesting in the top of the fifth inning as they put their first two batters of the inning on via the single before the league’s leader in RBI, Darian Dunn, launched a three run homerun to straightaway center field with no outs before Newcomb responded with three outs to end the inning with WT still holding the 6-4 lead.
The Lady Buffs responded in the home half of the fifth inning as they had runners at second and third with no outs followed by a Cranfill walk to load the bases, Wyatt came up big again with a single up the middle to drive in a pair of runs before ASU registered three outs to end the threat with the Lady Buffs taking the 8-4 lead into the sixth inning. WT wasn’t done yet as Erwin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a monster solo homerun over the black monster in left field followed by a Sipe solo shot to straightaway center field for the back-to-back bombs before Gehle doubled to left field to score pinch runner Callie Gerdes for the 11-4 lead followed by a Lemos walk to tie the all-time NCAA Division II career walks record with former Lady Buff and teammate Meghan Brown at 168.
The Belles wouldn’t go down without a fight as the league’s batting leader Morgan Spearman doubled off of the left center field wall to start the top of the seventh inning before Newcomb’s fifth strikeout of the game. Dunn came up big again with an RBI single thru the left side with one out followed by a WT error to put runners on the corners, Newcomb forced a groundout to Sipe at third base for the second out followed by the junior righty’s six strikeout of the game to give the Lady Buffs the 2014 Lone Star Conference Championship, 11-5. Newcomb picked up the win (17-2) in the circle for the Lady Buffs, giving up five runs on 11 hits with no walks and six strikeouts in the complete game victory.
Game #2 – West Texas A&M 5, Angelo State 4
The Belles wasted no time starting off the scoring in the finale as Spearman led off the contest with a solo homerun down the right field line onto WTAMU Drive past the right field fence before WT’s Tori Bayer responded with a pair of groundout and a strikeout to end the inning with ASU leading 1-0. The Lady Buffs took the lead in the home half of the second inning as Gehle launched her second homerun of the series, this time a two run shot, on top of the batting cages beyond the left field wall for the 2-1 lead after two innings of play.
Angelo State tied the game up in the top of the third inning as Spearman scored from third base on a passed ball with two outs before Bayer registered her sixth strikeout of the game to end the inning with the two teams tied at 2-2.
The Lady Buffs took advantage of a pair of Belles error to retake the lead in the bottom of the third as Erwin got to second after a single and an error followed by a Sipe single to center field that got by the fielder all the way to the wall as Erwin and Sipe both scored on the play with no outs. Spearman made the defensive play of the game as she made up for her earlier mistake with a catch as she collided with the center field wall on a Cranfill line drive followed by a diving play on a Wyatt would-be single to center to end the inning with WT leading 4-2.
Rachel Moore led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo homerun to left center field on a 3-2 Bayer offering followed by a walk and a single thru the left side with no outs, the Belles moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt followed by a Katlyn Herzog sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game at 4-4. The Lady Buffs used the opportunity to allow some reserves to see the field as the teams remained tied at 4-4 after four complete innings of play.
The long ball gave the Lady Buffs the lead once again in the home half of the fifth inning as Erwin launched a moon shot over the batting cages beyond the black monster with one out to give WT the 5-4 lead heading into the sixth inning, the lead is all the Bayer would need as the sophomore right hander registered two strikeouts and a groundout in the final inning for the 5-4 win. Bayer moved to 11-0 on the season, giving up four runs on five hits with two walks and a new career high 10 strikeouts in the complete game win.