Lady Buffs win second straight LSC tournament title

Russell Sanderson, Co-Editor

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The West Texas A&M Lady Buffs softball team won their second straight Lone Star Conference tournament championship on Saturday, defeating the Pioneers of Texas Women’s University 9-3 in the championship game. They previously defeated Angelo State in the semifinal on Friday night, 6-5, with sophomore Ashley Hardin hitting a walk-off homerun for the win. Ashley Hardin was named the MVP of the tournament after hitting four homeruns during the weekend.

The Lady Buffs got off to an extremely hot start, scoring three runs off a two run shot by junior Shea Ibrahim and a solo shot by Hardin. Ibrahim continued to have the hot bat, hitting a three run homerun in the bottom of the third. Sophomore Allie Smith then added the Lady Buffs fifth homerun of the night when she hit a two run shot. The Pioneers scored their three lone runs off an error in the fourth and an RBI groundout. Hardin then hit her fourth homerun of the tournament when she hit a solo shot in the home half of the fourth inning. Hardin said that the team never doubted the outcome of the game.

“I wasn’t really concerned at all,” Hardin said. “I know this team pretty well. We could probably go on two hours of sleep and be fine. I really had no doubt we weren’t going to come out here and not dominate, and that’s what we did.”

Ibrahim, Andrea Sitter, Kilee Halbert, Smith and Hardin were all named to the All-Tournament team. Hardin led the tournament with her four homers. Ibrahim’s two homeruns in the finals were two of the most crucial in the tournament. Ibrahim admitted that she had been a little bit tense at the plate as of late and that she just tried to relax.

“I was just trying to relax,” Ibrahim said. “I’ve been a little tense at the plate, so I’ve been just trying to relax and have fun again.”

The Lady Buffs will now learn their playoff fate Monday morning. They are currently at the top of their region and are expected to be the top seed and host the NCAA Regional Tournament May 5-6. Head coach Kevin Blaskowski said that winning the LSC championship was a good start to the postseason, but there was more ahead.

“I think [the LSC tournament] is the first step in the postseason,” Blaskowski said. “I think our goal is going to be winning every weekend now. It validates the season, yes, but it also gets the postseason to a good start.”