MONTGOMERY, Ala. –– The Prairie View A&M University softball team took the long road and were built for the challenge in winning six consecutive elimination games in three days, including three on Saturday, to win the SWAC Softball Championship at the Barbara Williams Softball Complex.
The championship is the second in program history and the first since 1998. PVAMU Softball will play in the NCAA Tournament and will learn its destination Sunday at 8 p.m. with a Selection Show Watch Party in the Panther Room in the Athletics Administration Building watching the live telecast on ESPNU.
The Lady Panthers opened the day with a 4-3 win in the semifinals over archrival Texas Southern to eliminate TSU and advance to the championship round. Prairie View A&M then needed to defeat host school Alabama State twice, as the Lady Hornets were undefeated in the double-elimination tournament on their home diamond.
PVAMU beat Alabama State 5-3 in championship game one before winning 4-3 in the winner-take-all finale to bring home the title.
Softball wins SIX straight elimination games to win the SWAC Championship!! pic.twitter.com/pvSfJeSDU9— PVAMU Panthers (@PVAMUPanthers) May 12, 2018
Laurisa Hernandez earned SWAC Tournament MVP honors after going 10-for-21 at the plate with 10 RBI. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Crystal Castillo, Destinee Williams, and Kyler Ward-Flowers.
Semifinal - Lady Panthers 4, Texas Southern 3: Prairie View A&M rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to beat TSU.
The Lady Panthers scored a pair of third-inning runs with two outs. Keona Hunter's single to center field scored Alexis Freeman, who was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a groundout. D. Williams then doubled down the left field line to score Hunter to tie the score at 2-2.
Trailing 3-2 after three, PVAMU took the lead for good in the fifth. With one out, Freeman singled through the left side, and Shelby Williams reached on an infield single and advanced to third on a throwing error as Freeman scored. Hunter's sacrifice fly scored Williams with the winning run.
Ashley Wiggins got the game one win, as Vanessa Castro pitched three innings of hitless, scoreless relief for the first of two saves on the day.
Championship Game 1 - Lady Panthers 5, Alabama St. 3: A three-run first set the tone in the win. With one out, D. Williams and, with two out, Kelsey Coronado reached on a fielder's choice. Hernandez then doubled to right center, scoring both runners. Ward-Flowers singled to center to score Hernandez.
Leading 3-1, the Lady Panthers added single runs in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Hernandez' RBI double scored Coronado, who singled. In the fourth, Hunter' RBI single scored Freeman, who led off with a single.
Castillo got the win, with Castro recording the final two outs for her second save.
Championship Game 2 - Lady Panthers 4, Alabama St. 3: PVAMU rallied from a 3-run deficit to take the title.
In the fifth, Hunter led off being hit by a pitch, and moved to second on a single to center by D. Williams. Following a sacrifice bunt by Cameron Lavergne, Alyssa Garcia singled to left to score Hunter. Hernandez followed with single to center to score Williams and Garcia scored on an error by the center fielder to tie the game at 3-3.
The winning run came home in the sixth. With one out, Shelby Williams reached on an error. Following a sacrifice bunt by Hunter which moved S. Williams to third, D. Williams' single through the left side drove home the winning run.
Higgins earned her second win of the day in relief, with Castillo coming back to pitch the final two innings for the save.