DII Softball: Madison Williams shines as Lumberjacks advance
DENVER – Madison Williams has been the Humboldt State softball program's "mad dog" throughout the 2016 season, but Tuesday afternoon she was the team's workhorse. Williams dominated as the Lumberjacks defeated the Pirates of Armstrong State, 3-2, in the First Round of NCAA Division II National Championship action.
"It is nice to get game one out of the way," said Head Coach Shelli Sarchett. "These guys came in with a lot of confidence. We didn't have a lot of offense, but I didn't expect that at the national tournament."
Williams tossed a complete game, which included five innings of no-hit ball, and cruised to her team-leading 25th victory of the year. The Brentwood, Calif., native fanned eight Pirates, walked two and allowed two runs on two hits.
"It feels awesome," said Williams of her performance against Armstrong State. "I couldn't be more proud of my team. My team had my back the whole game, and this is where we wanted to be the whole season. I was just keeping the ball down, because I knew the ball would fly here. I was just trying to through my best pitches, go right at them and have confidence."
All three of HSU's runs came in the third inning. Illa Haley opened the frame with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and came home on a Cindy Chavez RBI single up the middle. With Chavez at second base, the Pirates issued an intentional walk to leadoff batter Hanna Holland. Armstrong State got the second out on a fielder's choice play at third base, but the inning was just getting started for HSU. With runners at first and second, Holland and Winona Vigil executed the double steal and the pair moved into scoring position. An illegal pitch brought home Holland and advanced Vigil to third. Vigil came home on a passed ball during the same at-bat to give the Jacks a 3-0 advantage.
"Seven, eight and nine really generated the runs today," said Sarchett. "They are really just as capable as one, two, three. I told these girls at the beginning that if situations are presented to you, take advantage of them. We just took advantage of opportunities that were given to us."
The Pirates' bats were silent through the first five innings but made some noise in the sixth. Logan Harrell belted a two-run homer to right field to trim the Jacks lead to one, 3-2.
Tori Bates took the loss for the Pirates. She pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits.
HSU, 51-5-1, advances to face West Texas A&M (59-3) Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT. Humboldt will be the home team. The Green and Gold faced the Lady Buffs earlier this season during the Dixie State Tournament in St. George, Utah, losing 3-2.