Thunderbirds drop close decision to No. 3 LUSA at AII softball playoffs

Alana Westerhof

VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds came close to earning a berth to the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round but lost their semifinal game 3-2 to No. 1-seeded LSU Alexandria today at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Softball Championships in Lawrenceville, Ga.


“We lost a tough one today against LSUA but we played a great game,” said UBC head coach Gord Collings, whose team’s eight-game winning streak was snapped on Friday. “Alana was terrific pitching and we played great defence but didn’t get the clutch hit when needed. LSUA is a very good team and are ranked No. 1 in the tournament for a reason. I’m very proud of the players and their determination.”

With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Kelly Rumley hit a single to the LUSA shortstop Kaylee Prathe, who then committed a throwing error, which allowed T-Bird shortstop Yasmin Bains to score.

But with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, the Generals, the No. 3 team in the entire NAIA, rallied to score twice to retake the lead, which they turned into a victory when failed the Thunderbirds failed to produce any runs with their final at-bats.

LUSA opened the scoring in the first inning before Shayla Kaplen‘s RBI-single in the third scored Olivia Zwick.

UBC starting pitcher Alana Westerhof (9-9) threw a complete game, surrendering three runs while striking out seven Generals batters. LUSA’s Logan Hebert also pitched a complete game and improved to 17-0.

Kaplen and Zwick both had two hits to lead UBC (16-14) on Friday.

A win would have given the Thunderbirds a spot in the A.I.I. championship final and passage to the next round of the postseason.

They will still have a chance at both but will need to win Saturday’s crossover game against second seed California State-San Marcos, a team they beat 11-5 on Thursday.

A loss against CSUSM, the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked program, will eliminate UBC from further postseason competition. The two squads will square off Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Pacific time.

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