ARCATA, Calif. – Humboldt State softball defeated Central Washington, 11-2, to capture the program's seventh NCAA Division II West Region Championship and punch its ticket to Denver, Colo., and the national championship.
 
Freshman outfielder Illa Haley hit a pair of home runs and drove in a career-high six runs as the Green and Gold improved to 50-5-1 overall.
 
"This is full circle for me – I have been there as a player, assistant coach and now as a head coach," said Head Coach Shelli Sarchett. "I am excited to see our senior group return to where they started, after beginning their career in the National Championship. I am so proud of these guys."
 
A Julie Pena sacrifice fly in the first and a Winona Vigil solo home run in the third gave the Jacks a 2-0 lead. Vigil's long ball was the first of her career, and she finished the day 3-for-3 at the plate.
 
Back-to-back doubles by Pena and Kalyn Paque increased the HSU advantage to 3-0 in the fifth, and Haley tacked on two more runs with a two-run homer in the frame.
 
The Wildcats opened the fifth inning with a towering solo shot from Kailyn Campbell. Four batters later, Taylor Ferleman added a run-scoring single through the left side to pull within four runs of HSU, 6-2.
 
HSU batted around the lineup in the seventh and they scored six runs on five hits. Haley's grand slam highlighted the inning, but Tiffany Hollingsworth contributed an RBI double and Paque drew a walk with the bases loaded.
 
Katie Obbema earned the win for the Jacks and allowed two runs on nine hits. Obbema's efficient pitching performance resulted in 10 Wildcats left stranded on base. She picked up her 22nd victory of the season.
 
"She didn't have the best of games, she gave up a lot of hits, but when the chips were down she did it," said Sarchett. "I wanted the ball to stay in the senior's hands, and she did what she needed to do with it."