CANYON, Texas -- West Texas A&M came into Saturday needing a pair of wins against one of the nation's top pitchers to keep their season alive, Hannah Newcomb and Rita Hokianga took the ball and ran with it as they both threw complete game shutouts as WT claimed the program's first South Central Super Regional championship at Schaeffer Park. The Lady Buffs continue their season as they move to 56-7 overall while the Rattlers end their 2014 campaign at 50-14.
"Wow is about all that I can say, I saw something different in these girls eyes today and I couldn't be more proud of a team. I've had the pleasure of doing this for 23 years and I've never been a part of a team that fights for wins quite like this one, I owe a chance at my first College World Series to these incredible young ladies" WT head coach Kevin Blaskowski said. "Rita and Hannah came out and dominated the circle, if you would have told me this morning that two shutouts later we were heading to Salem I wouldn't have believed you, I will go to battle against anyone with these young ladies and it's not over yet."
The Lady Buffs wasted no time starting off the scoring in the deciding game as Tyler Wilkinson singled to second base with one out followed by a stolen base to move into scoring position, Kaisha Dacosin laced a ball to left field as WT plated their first run on a Rattlers fielding error to head into the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead.
WT added to their lead in the top of the second inning as Allie Cranfill stayed hot at the plate as the junior launched a solo blast to straightaway center field to leadoff the frame followed by a Mallory Wyatt single up the middle, Wyatt moved into scoring position on a wild pitch followed by a Lacey Taylor sacrifice bunt for the first out. The Rattlers registered a strikeout for the second out of the frame before Alyssa Lemos singled to left field to score Wyatt from third base, Lemos stole second and Wilkinson walked followed by a Renee Erwin RBI single thru the left side with two outs to run the Lady Buff lead to 4-0 after an inning and a half of play.
The Lady Buffs weren't done yet as Jessica Sipe welcomed St. Mary's ace Emily Brittain into the game to start the third inning with a first pitch solo homerun to straightaway center to leadoff the frame, WT loaded the bases with one out as they headed back to the top of the order as Lemos grounded out to first base to plate Cranfill from third followed by a two run Wilkinson infield single to run their lead to 8-0 headed to the bottom of the third inning.
The Rattlers threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning as a pair of walks put runners on first and second with one out followed by a wild pitch to move the runners into scoring position, St. Mary's grounded into a fielder's choice as Brittany Gehle gunned down a runner at home for the second out to put runners on the corners followed by Rita Hokianga's sixth strikeout of the game to end the inning with WT leading 8-0.
The Lady Buffs weren't done yet as they loaded the bases once again in the top of the fifth inning as Dacosin and Cranfill drew walks to drive in two more WT runs to knock Brittain from the game with two outs, Bissaro re-entered the game and forced an out to end the inning with the Lady Buffs leading 10-0.
The lead would be all that Hokianga would need as the junior left hander finished off the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a strikeout to give WT the 10-0 run-rule victory and the trip to Salem, Virginia for the 2014 DII championships Hokianga move to 24-3 on the season, giving up no runs on two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in the complete game shutout.
The Lady Buffs now advance to the program's first NCAA Division II championships, taking place on May 22-26 at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia. WT will matchup against the East Region Champion Pioneers of LIU Post (50-9) on Thursday afternoon with first pitch set for 3:30 p.m. ET.