AZUSA, Calif. – The Dixie State softball team made an early exit from the NCAA tournament, losing its first two games in the double-elimination format this weekend. The second loss was a 2-1 heartbreaker in a game that lasted over two days with weather delays.
The Trailblazers began Saturday with the bottom of the fifth inning and already looking at the 2-1 deficit. Dixie State had its chances with runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the sixth, DSU had runners at second and third with one out. Arista Honey drew a walk to begin the inning. Taylor Godfrey came in as a pinch runner. Autumn Woodfall drew a second walk. Dani Bartholf entered as a pinch runner for Woodfall.
Jessica Gonzalez advanced the runners with a ground out. But UCSD got the next batter to strike out and the last out on a pop fly to end the inning.
The story of the game was a repeat of the first game. The Dixie State bats just couldn’t get it going. The leading offense of the PacWest could only generate three hits.
“It is difficult to explain,” said Dixie State head coach Randy Simkins. “We faced good pitching today, but not dominant pitching. The teams we face in conference have dominant pitching. And we led the conference offensively against dominant pitchers. We should have performed better at the plate.”
Aryn Feickert again pitched well, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six. The Lady Tritons used three pitchers to allow one run on three hits, striking out five. Hannah Duarte got the win in relief from the circle.
The game began on Friday and the Trailblazers grabbed the early lead when Woodfall doubled in Shelby Yung in the first inning. UCSD tied the score in the third inning and grabbed the lead right before the long weather delay in the top of the fifth.
The loss dropped Dixie State to 36-15 for the year. Feickert, Woodfall and Kristie Johnson all played their final game for the Trailblazers. Feickert finished the year with a 20-6 record. She had a 1.81 earned run average and opposing hitters hit .188 against her. She recorded 20-win seasons in each of her three years at Dixie State with a combined record of 61-17. She lowered her ERA each year going 2.29, 2.18 and 1.81 over three years.
Woodfall and Johnson were at DSU for four years when the team had a four-year record of 179-48. Woodfall has been a mainstay in the lineup for three years, starting half the games she appeared in her sophomore year. She batted .374 in her final season with a slugging percentage of .481. She had 13 home runs in her DSU career and batted in 99 runs.
Johnson patiently waited, backing up All-Americans her first three years, to finally get a starting position her senior year. Her first three years she saw spot action as a pinch runner or pinch hitter. In her senior year, she batted .264 with a slugging percentage of .372. Johnson has touched home plate 83 times in her DSU career.
“We ask three things of our players,” said Simkins. “Be good people, be good students and be good players. These three seniors exemplify the kind of girls that we strive to recruit. They are not only great teammates, but they give back more than they take from the program. These three will succeed in whatever pursuit they desire.”
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