Red Storm win big over Wildcats, will host Super-Regional Friday and Saturday

The Red Storm celebrate their West Regional victory. NCAA D-II West Region action, Dixie State vs. Central Washington, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – On a cold, windy Sunday afternoon at Karl Brooks Field, the Dixie State softball team provided its own heat with a blistering 8-0 win over the Wildcats of Central Washington, capturing the NCAA Division II West Region 2 title and a chance to host the West Super Regional later this week.

dsulogoWith vastly different weather conditions from the previous two days of the tournament the first decision Coach Randy Simkins had to make was who to start at pitcher.

“Normally we go with Aryn Feickert,” said Simkins. “(Michelle) Duncan pitched in relief the first game and started the second game. But with wind conditions blowing out, we knew we had to force them to hit ground balls. Aryn is more of a pop-out pitcher while Duncan forces ground balls.”

The decision worked out perfectly, with Duncan pitching solidly, scattering six hits while walking no one and not allowing a single Wildcat to cross the plate.

Meanwhile, the Red Storm got all the run support Duncan would need as they jumped out early in the first. Courtney Hine hit a solo home run over the center field television camera. Later in the inning, Sheila Gelter doubled in Courtney Sherwin for a 2-0 start.

ASP_7129In the second inning the Red Storm loaded the bases on two fielding errors and a single by Nicole Chavez. Hine hit her second home run, this one a grand slam over the same television camera to give Dixie a 6-0 lead.

“Both pitches were thrown in the exact same spot,” said Hine. “I was looking just to connect. The wind helped carry them over the fence.”

Dixie State added two more runs in the fourth inning. Sherwin singled in Chavez, then later scored on a throwing error later in the inning.

Duncan’s effort on the mound was superb as the Red Storm defense rarely saw a runner get past first base. With the win, Duncan moves to 18-1 on the season.

Maria Gau took the loss for the Wildcats and falls to 20-10 on the year. Central Washington ends the season with a 32-20 record.

Dixie State will now face No. 1-seeded Cal State Monterrey Bay out of the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the Regional Championship. The two teams will play a three-game series over two days May 16-17, with Dixie State hosting the contests at Brooks Field.

“The last time we saw them was two years ago when Maddi Snow pitched a 2-0 shutout to end their season,” said Simkins. “We have won 24 in a row. We feel confident.”

The first game will be Friday at 3 p.m. The best-of-three series will continue Saturday with the first game scheduled for 1 p.m. The “if necessary” game would follow about 15 minutes after the conclusion of Saturday’s first game, should a third game be needed.

Stats: DSU 8, CWU 0

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