SOFTBALL: Western takes title with 5-0 sweep

Wes Watt

Marvel Comics might want to add senior first baseman Sam Hansen to its long list of superhero creations. Her heroic performance in the Hilltopper Spring Fling Tournament this weekend helped Western to a 5-0 sweep and become tournament champion.

The Lady Toppers are now 16-3 on the season with two tournament championships.

“Number one clutch,” coach Leslie Phelan said. “I’m going to start calling her that.”

While Hansen was Western’s hero, she was Kent State’s nightmare. Hansen hit a game tying RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings in the team’s second game on Friday.

Then Hansen was called upon in the bottom of the ninth with two outs with one on base. And she was there to answer the call. Hansen hit the game winning RBI to give Western a 2-1 win.

But the phone didn’t stop ringing for Hansen. She was called upon one more time in the championship game against the Golden Flashes on Sunday.

After being hit in the arm by a pitch in her first at bat, Hansen answered with a three run homer to give the Lady Toppers a 3-2 lead in bottom of the third to complete the 2-0 sweep of the Golden Flashes.

“I was waiting for the changeup and I hit,” Hansen said. “It felt good because she hit me and I wasn’t too happy about it.”

Western’s defense put in a strong performance on Sunday to help make sure Hansen’s effort wasn’t wasted. Kent State had runners in scoring position when freshman outfielder Alana Towns made an outstanding running catch in the bottom of the sixth to end the inning.

But the damage was done, Kent State was able to score a run in the sixth to tie the game. Senior outfielder Jessie Richardson got the offensive motors running after getting a lead off double and advancing to third on an error.

Freshman shortstop Baily Rolfs took the plate with Richardson on third and blasted a fly ball to left field to score Richardson and let the Lady Toppers take a 4-3 lead that would not be relinquished.

Western’s success was not only against Kent State. Sophomore pitcher Adrienne Lathrop pitched the second no-hitter in Western’s history in the opening game of the tournament against Morehead State to get a 6-0 victory. Lathrop was just one walked batter away from throwing a perfect game.

After an inconsistent performance last weekend, Phelan and Lathrop worked on a different aspect of the game: the mental aspect.

“We talked about it at practice and she made the adjustment,” Phelan said. “Adrienne has a ton of untapped talent, and I believe she is only going to get better and better and can build on this type of performance.”

Western also disposed of Detroit 7-0 on Friday, before shutting out MSU again in a 6-0 victory on Saturday.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]