Huskies win NCAA softball title
Washington captured the NCAA softball championship for the first time, beating Florida 3-2.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Washington added another state to its postseason collection -- euphoria.
Washington's three-week, 6,899-mile trek through Massachusetts, Georgia and Oklahoma in the NCAA softball tournament ended with a national championship Tuesday.
National player of the year Danielle Lawrie rushed catcher Alicia Blake and second baseman Ashley Charters threw her glove to the Space Needle after the Huskies won their first NCAA title with a 3-2 victory over No. 1 Florida.
"It was always my vision that this was something we would be capable of doing," said Washington coach Heather Tarr, who played for the title with the Huskies in 1996 and took over as coach in 2005.
"We went through the toughest road anybody had to hoe to get here. Ultimately, I think that's what caused that to happen."
The No. 3 Huskies (51-12) won five of their six games here, all compete games, all by Lawrie, who was named the tournament MVP after striking out 48.
Lawrie, a junior, won her 42nd game, tying the Pac-10 season record, while giving up six hits and two runs, one earned.
She struck out eight, including the final two batters of the game with Florida runners on first and second base, to finish with 521 strikeouts, one short of the Pac-10 season record.
"I can't say enough about Danielle and the ability to carry a team on her back, from September 'til now," Tarr said.
Washington is the fifth Pac-10 team to win the series, and Pac-10 teams have won 22 of the 28 titles.
Senior Charters and freshman Kimi Pohlman had singles in Washington's two-run first inning, tying the score after Florida (63-5) scored twice in the top half.
Charters and Pohlman had hits in all six games, and the Huskies led World Series teams in both batting average (.304) and ERA (1.88).
"This is definitely the best senior gift I could get," Charters said. "Words can't really describe it. We had a very tough road to get here. But we wouldn't have been here if it was easy. It was all meant to be."
Charters, Pohlman, Morgan Stuart and Niki Williams were named to the all-tournament team. Stuart tied a record with five hits in one game and set a record with four doubles. Williams set records for RBI in a game (seven) and series (10).
Washington gave Lawrie the only lead she would need in the third inning, when Pohlman hit a sailing line drive that Florida center fielder Michelle Moultrie dropped for an error.
Jenn Salling and Lawrie -- who spent 2008 with the Canadian Olympic team -- singled to load the bases. Stuart then hit a slow grounder toward the mound that Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson (41-5) charged but bobbled, enabling Pohlman to score for a 3-2 lead.
Francesca Enea doubled off the left-field fence with one out in the seventh and Kelsey Broder walked before Lawrie ended the game with strikeouts.
Lawrie handed the Gators three of their five losses this season while giving up one earned run in 23 innings, with two shutouts.
She beat them, 1-0, in nine innings in Palm Springs, Calif., on Feb. 20.
After that victory, Lawrie said Florida coach Tim Walton compared the Gators to Pac-10 elite programs UCLA and Arizona, indicating the Huskies didn't belong in that class.
"I remember him not giving us any recognition for how we played," Lawrie said. "I said after the first game [Monday], it means nothing. Every single pitch that I threw I gave 100 percent of what I had. I felt good with everything."
Washington 3, Florida 2
|Ashley Charters 2b||3||1||1||0||0||1||.447|
|Kimi Pohlman lf||3||2||1||0||0||0||.360|
|Jenn Salling ss||3||0||1||0||0||1||.270|
|Danielle Lawrie p||3||0||2||1||0||0||.268|
|Morgan Stuart 3b||3||0||0||0||0||1||.322|
|Alicia Blake c||2||0||0||0||1||0||.271|
|Marnie Koziol pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|Ashlyn Watson dp||3||0||0||0||0||0||.330|
|Lauren Greer rf||3||0||1||0||0||1||.203|
|Bailey Stenson rf||0||0||0||0||0||0||.160|
|A. Fleischman 1b||0||0||0||0||0||0||.182|
|Niki Williams 1b||1||0||0||0||0||1||.288|
|A. McWherter cf||0||0||0||0||0||0||.273|
|Aja Paculba 2b||4||1||1||0||0||2||.368|
|Kristina Hilberth c||4||1||2||0||0||0||.386|
|Lauren Heil pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Francesca Enea lf||3||0||2||0||0||1||.339|
|Brooke Johnson pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kelsey Bruder rf||2||0||0||0||2||0||.369|
|Megan Bush ss||3||0||0||1||0||1||.327|
|Ali Gardiner 1b||3||0||1||0||1||1||.295|
|Danyell Hines pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Corrie Brooks 3b||2||0||0||0||0||1||.301|
|Michelle Moultrie cf||3||0||1||0||0||1||.261|
|Kim Waleszonia dp||3||0||0||0||0||1||.326|
|Stacey Nelson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||--|
|Florida||200 000 0||--||2||7||2|
|Washington||201 000 X||--||3||6||3|
E -- Moultrie (3); Nelson (4); Salling (5); Lawrie (5); M. Stuart (12). DP -- Washington 1. LOB -- Florida 10; Washington 5. 2B -- Enea (11). 3B -- Paculba (5). SH -- Enea (1); Brooks (6); Williams (3). SF -- Bush (2). SB -- Hilberth (10); Enea (3); Moultrie (15). CS -- Koziol (3).
|Danielle Lawrie W, 42-8||7||7||2||1||3||8||0.97|
|Stacey Nelson L, 41-5||6||6||3||2||1||5||0.61|
WP -- Nelson (12); Lawrie (13). PB -- Blake (10). Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes -- Nelson 95/62; Lawrie 119/73. Umpires -- HP: Keith Kearney 1B: Sally Walker 3B: Kevin Davis. Time -- 2:28. Attendance -- 5,807.E -- Moultrie (3); Nelson (4); Salling (5); Lawrie (5); M. Stuart (12). DP -- Washington 1. LOB -- Florida 10; Washington 5. 2B -- Enea (11). 3B -- Paculba (5). SH -- Enea (1); Brooks (6); Williams (3). SF -- Bush (2). SB -- Hilberth (10); Enea (3); Moultrie (15). CS -- Koziol (3).
|For the 22nd time in 28 years, the NCAA softball champion is a Pac-10 team.|
|1986||Cal St. Fullerton||57-9-1|
|* Title vacated due to NCAA infractions.|
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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