May 27, 2010

By Bo Allegrucci
Special to

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Wayne State senior pitcher Casey Hanes entered the NCAA Division II Softball Championships with a 42-6 record, a national-best 0.53 ERA and 355 strikeouts in 314 innings this season.

After two airport delays and a 27-hour plane flight with 11 freshmen and sophomores and only two players taller than 5-foot-7, Hawaii Pacific didn't really care.

The Sea Warriors small-balled Hanes and the Wayne State Warriors to death Thursday, winning the program's championship series debut 3-1 in 1 hour 20 minutes.

Hawaii Pacific pitcher Sherise Musquiz led the way, allowing three hits and one unearned run in seven innings while singling home a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the fourth.

Senior second baseman Casey Sugihara put the Sea Warriors up 2-0 in the bottom of the third with a two-out, two-run single. Maile Kim doubled and scored on Musquiz's base hit in the fourth.

Wayne State spoiled the shutout in the seventh when Stephanie LeClair led off with an infield single and scored after a pair of Hawaii throwing errors on a routine grounder. Wayne State did send the tying run to the plate with one out in its final at-bat, but Musquiz sent the next two hitters back to the dugout and sent Wayne State to the losers' bracket.

The teams combined for just eight hits. Hanes struck out five and gave up five hits, but the three earned runs she allowed raised her precious ERA a full three-tenths of a run to 0.83.