COSTA MESA, Calif. - After starting the tournament strong with a shutout victory over Hope, The Vanguard University Lions (44-13) hoped to carry their home advantage into their game against the William Jessup Warriors (20-17). The Lions had the last laugh the last time these two sides met, but unfortunately that wasn't the case in this tournament tussle. The Warriors defeated the Pride 9-1 over five innings, securing a place in the championship match, while the Pride was forced to settle for an elimination berth against the San Diego Christian Hawks (25-22). After seven grueling innings, the Blue and Gold were able to save their season with a narrow 1-0 win against the Hawks.
Game One: William Jessup 9, Vanguard 1
Following two uneventful innings that saw a total of four hits and zero runs, the Warriors sprung to life in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to take the lead. Needing an immediate response to stay in the game, the Lions instead struck out for the fourth inning in a row, while the Warriors ended the contest early with a further five runs. Cassie Balswick (FR/Turlock, CA) scored in the top of the fifth inning, but it wasn't enough to prolong what turned out to be a relatively short game. Three pitchers took the mound for the Pride, with Courtney Thornhill (FR/Hughson,CA) starting and pitching the first 2.2 innings. Vanessa Dwyer (FR/Temple City, CA) and Kolbi Tonini (SO/Reno, NV) spent time in the circle before Thornill came back in to finish it off.
Vanguard 1, San Diego Christian 0
With a win required to stay alive in the tournament, the Lions couldn't afford to lose to the Hawks. This made for an extremely cautious affair, with the game remaining at zeros until the top of the fourth inning. Morgan Pilbin (SO/Fallbrook, CA) scored the decisive run, following a Summer Penner (SR/Anaheim, CA) single to left field. However, the Blue and Gold were forced to remain resolute for a further three innings, until the Hawks flied out to left field for the final time. Courtney Thornhill started and pitched all seven innings for the Pride, only conceding five hits for the win. This result sends the Lions to the championship game for a mouth-watering rematch with the Warriors, who can win the tournament with a victory in game one. However, if the Pride take game one, the champion will be determined in a second game at 3:30 p.m.
Next Game: Tomorrow, May 4th at 1:00 p.m. against William Jessup University