SAN RAFAEL, CA. (April 23, 2012) - California Baptist University needed just five innings and a little over an hour to capture its first ever Pacific West Conference Softball title on Monday, defeating Dominican 12-0 to clinch the championship.
The Lancers batted around in the first inning, going ahead 7-0 to all but seal the title up from the outset. Emma Holden gave the Penguins no chance of dashing the celebration, tossing a no-hitter in the five-inning game.
"It was amazing to see the way the girls came out hitting the ball," said CBU Head Coach Bill Baber, who guided the team to a conference title in his first season at the helm. "They were focused and just crushing balls even with the wind blowing in. Then Emma came in and just shut Dominican down."
The game was a makeup of a previous rainout between the two squads for which the Lancers added an extra day to an already scheduled trip to the bay area.
The added time and expense turned out to be well worth it as CBU locked up the title with an .867 winning percentage, giving neither Dixie State nor Grand Canyon a chance to catch the Lancers, even with games left for both clubs.
"We said from the start of the season that this was our national title, this was our ultimate goal," said Baber. "It's a phenomenal feeling especially for the seniors who dealt with so much change, but are still going out on top."
It is the Lancers ninth straight conference title, dating back to 2004. The Lancers had won eight straight Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) titles before transitioning to NCAA Division II and joining the PacWest this season.
As for the play on the field Monday, CBU could not have asked for a better clinching performance.
Lindsay Henry opened the Lancers' half of the first inning with a leadoff triple, then was promptly driven in by Mara Rodriguez and from there the rout was on.
Kendall Gorham cleared the bases with a three run homer in the inning, and April Vasquez, Marshean August and Henry all added RBI as CBU sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame.
Holden's no-hitter was her second in the last two weeks as the senior took a perfect game into the final inning. Holden struck out eight batters in the game to move to 22-4 on the season.
"The defense made some great plays behind (Holden) and as she settled in you could see she had it today," said Baber. "You could really see it in all of our players' eyes. They wanted this game and this title, and they came out extremely focused and ready to get it."
The Lancers scored four more runs in the fourth inning to set up the five inning shutout.
CBU scored its 12 runs on 14 hits, getting multi-hit games from four different players and sending a total of 13 players to the plate in the contest. Henry went 3 for 3, and Sloan McHann, Tina Galinato and Gorham all had two hits. Gorham had a team high four RBI in the game and scored two runs as well. Her homer in the first gives Gorham a PacWest best 13 long balls on the season.
CBU closes out the regular season with an overall record of 43-6 and a conference record of 26-4. With postseason still to play, it is also the Lancers 10th straight 40-win season.
CBU out-paced a red-hot Dixie State to the finish line, winning 17 straight conference games to close the season. The Red Storm finished the season with 21 consecutive PacWest wins, but an early season series between the two teams in which the Lancers took 3 of 4 games helped put Dixie in a hole they could not climb out of.
"When we started the conference season 5-3 it could have been easy for some people to doubt us," said Baber. "This team always believed though. They knew what our goal was and always stayed the course and believed we could win it. Finishing the season winning 21 of 22 conference games is an amazing feat and is really a testament to how these girls never stopped believing they could do it."
The Lancers won't get much of a respite to reflect on their title, hosting Hope International Tuesday at 5 p.m. in an NCCAA regional matchup. The Royals and Lancers will play two games Tuesday, with an if necessary game scheduled for Wednesday to decide the three game series.
For more information about CBU Lancers Athletics, visit www.cbulancers.com