By Brian Cohen
Predicted to repeat as national champions for the first time since 2008, the Humboldt State Women’s softball team had high hopes for the 2014 season. HSU saw its rankings fluctuate throughout the season after being put at the one seed by the division II pre-season coaches’ poll. The Jacks saw time as the one seed and even the ninth seed, but managed to average the fourth seed for the year.
After going 46-16 overall and 27-9 in the CCAA standings the Jacks won this year’s CCAA tournament, making it back to back championships for the HSU softball program. Timely hitting from the superstar freshman Tiffany Hollingsworth, the big bat of Hannah Williams, and strong relief appearance from the Mad-Dog, freshman Maddison Williams gave the Jacks another championship and a three seed to take to the Division II West Regionals in St. George, Utah.
Less than a week after claiming the CCAA tournament title by pounding their way to victory on the back of five homeruns in just three days, HSU only managed four singles in their elimination game against number seventh ranked Central Washington.
With the big bats of HSU going missing in Utah, the Jacks looked to their great pitching staff to take them to the next level.
HSU designated hitter, #21 Hannah Williams, said she believes that Humboldt State’s secret weapon is their pitching.
“We have the best pitching staff in the country,” Williams said. “We have three strong arms behind Katie (Obbema), Liz (Perez), and Maddie (Williams). We have three people that can get their job done whenever it seems necessary.”
HSU fell in game one to the University of San Diego in a great comeback attempt, but HSU’s offense couldn’t come through when needed in extra innings.
HSU had another chance to remain in contention. However Central Washington had other plans for HSU, completely silencing their bats and limiting them to four hits, all singles.
The HSU vs. Central Washington game was one that was fought very hard for, close till the end, a real pitcher’s duel.
HSU senior captain and four year starter at right field Sarah Fox (No. 15) said this season was more of a fight for wins.
“I was proud of the way we played this season, last season, we had wins a lot easier and games were not as close,” Fox said. “Our games this season were almost all close, and we seemed to fight through every game, and that’s how we went out, fighting the whole time.”
Although HSU didn’t have the ultimate outcome they hoped for, they made their first year head coach something to be proud of and a bright look into their bright future.
Humboldt State’s head coach, Shelli Sarchett, said she is very confident in the women’s abilities.
“Their drive to win is amazing and just ups the competitive spirit,” Sarchett said. “I am very confident in the group we have returning and the group we have coming in.”
Sarhett said to also look out for whichever team comes out of the west. “I think anybody in our region could be competitive at the national level, which is credit to how strong the western region is.”