SAGU Wins NCCAA Softball National Championship
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The No. 2 SAGU Lady Lions trailed 3-0 after the second inning, but climbed back into the game in the fourth, as Rosie Guadarrama and Illeana Salinas each had RBI-singles to make it 3-2. Airiana Magdaleno tied it up in the third with an RBI-single that scored Alana Ortega. In the sixth inning, SAGU tacked on two more runs before Maddie Watson crushed a two-run home run to make it 7-4. In the circle, Ashlyn Teran picked up the win in relief, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out six.
SAGU opened pool play with a 9-8 loss against No. 7 Arlington Baptist University (ABU), losing in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Lady Lions bounced back with a 6-4 win over No. 6 Hannibal-LaGrange University, led by Kassandra Vargas who had a home run and drove in two runs. SAGU then defeated CIU 6-5, as Salinas went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and one run scored. The Lions finished 2-1 in pool play and advanced to the semifinals after a 6-5 win over ABU in a pool play tiebreaker game.
In the semifinal matchup against the reigning NCCAA National Champion No. 1 Mid-America Christian University, the Lady Lions came out strong as Teran hit a grand slam in the first inning. SAGU went on to a 5-2 victory as Teran picked up the win on the mound, allowing six hits and striking out seven.
Steven “Watty” Watson, SAGU head softball coach for the past four years, says that winning the championship meant a lot to the team and to him.
“We lost our first game in the World Series,” Watson says, “but the ladies put it together and didn’t lose another game.”
Watson also experienced what he called a “priceless moment” during the championship game.
“My daughter, Maddie Watson, who is a senior, in her last at bat of her career, came up in the bottom of 6th and hit her only home run of her career.” The two-run home run was part of a four-run sixth inning which broke open a 3-3 tie game.
SAGU's Guadarrama was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player after collecting four home runs in her six games played throughout the national championship. Teran was also selected to the All-Tournament Team for SAGU. The Lady Lions finished the year with a record of 34-25. For a complete listing of the All-Tournament Team and other NCCAA awards, click here.
Full results with box scores for all the NCCAA national championship tournament games are posted here.