The Dixie State University softball team ventured out to the Hawaiian Islands and came away with a 6-2 record against Pacific West Conference foes.
DSU outscored its opponents 44-7 throughout the week, including four consecutive shutouts against Chaminade University. The Trailblazers swept the Silverswords and then split with Brigham Young University-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University.
“We played really well in Hawaii, but played down to our competition in the games we lost,” said sophomore second baseman Bailey Gaffin, a business administration major from Glendale, Arizona. “We just have to take every at-bat seriously and play our hardest against whatever team we play.”
A big part of the Trailblazers’ success was the play of junior outfielder Janessa Bassett. Bassett had nine hits over the course of the weekend and was named PacWest player of the week.
“I was a lot more aggressive with my at-bats this week and just waited for my pitch,” Bassett said. “I kept up my intensity and waited for the pitcher to make a mistake.”
Because of the outcome of the trip to Hawaii, the Trailblazers dropped to third place in PacWest conference play.
“We wanted to go undefeated in Hawaii, but overall I was [pleased] with how we played,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “I was most impressed with our pitching and our defense. We just have to work on a couple of more small things offensively to be where we want to be.”
The Trailblazers’ first stop over spring break was CU. Throughout the four-game series, the Trailblazers did not give up a single run, outscoring CU 27-0.
In the first game, senior pitcher Brooklyn Beardshear threw her fifth complete-game shutout of the season. With Beardshear going to work, the offense found a spark starting in the third inning.
Senior outfielder Shelby Yung hit a leadoff double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Josey Hartman to break a scoreless tie.
DSU pushed its lead to 5-0 in the sixth inning thanks to RBI hits from sophomore catcher Jessica Gonzalez and senior first baseman Mallory Paulson.
Two-out RBI singles by Bassett and sophomore second baseman Bailey Gaffin pushed the lead to what ended up being a final score of 7-0.
The second game was much like the first game, except the Trailblazers wasted no time building a large lead.
DSU scored five runs on six hits in the second game. Four consecutive RBI hits Gonzalez, senior third baseman Arista Honey, Yung and Bartholf opened the scoring and the Trailblazers led the rest of the way.
A two-out RBI single by Paulson scored two more runs in the fourth inning and helped the Trailblazers finish the game in just five innings.
The third game was a low-scoring defensive battle. A two-out RBI single in the fifth inning by Bassett was the difference in the game.
The Silverswords threatened to score the first runs of the game in the fourth after loading the bases with only one out. But the Trailblazers were able to retire the next two batters and avoid conceding a run.
Yung drew a walk to open the fifth and was eventually drove home two batters later by Bassett.
Bassett went 3-4 with the game’s only RBI. Beardshear earned yet another complete-game shutout.
While runs were scarce in the third game, the opposite was true for the final game of the series. After going down in order in the first inning, DSU scored its first run in the second inning thanks to an error by CU. Freshman outfielder Brenna Hinck singled to center to score Honey and then Bartholf scored from third on a passed ball.
Up 3-0 heading into the third, the Trailblazers were just getting started on offense. Honey hit a two-RBI shot down the left field line to push the lead to 5-0. Freshman first baseman Riley Tyteca hit Paulson home and then later scored to make it 7-0.
The Trailblazers would score two runs in both the fourth and fifth inning for an 11-0 victory in five innings.
Next up for the Trailblazers was a doubleheader against BYU-H on Friday.
DSU dropped the first game 1-2. The loss was tough because DSU held a 1-0 lead entering the seventh and final inning.
DSU nearly scored in the first inning when Paulson hit a shot to left field. Yung was waved home but thrown out at the plate.
The only run of the game for DSU came in the fourth inning thanks to a solo home run by Paulson to left field.
DSU maintained its 1-0 advantage until the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third, the Seasiders hit a pitch shallow center. Bassett fielded the ball but couldn’t get it home cleanly before BYU-H won the game.
Revenge was in order for the final game of the double-header.
Bassett doubled down the left field line to open the third inning. A sacrifice fly by Paulson sent Bassett home, and DSU was up 2-0 after three innings.
DSU then scored nine runs in the fifth inning to effectively end the game. Bassett walked to start the inning and scored on an RBI hit by Yung. Paulson then stepped to the plate and blasted a two-run shot over the center field wall for a 5-0 advantage. DSU scored four more runs in the inning, all off of Seasider errors.
The final stop of the road trip was at HPU.
HPU opened the scoring in the third inning, both runs coming due to a throwing error.
DSU battled back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth after Gaffin drove in two runs with a double to center field. The Trailblazers added two more runs in the sixth when Gonzalez scored on a throwing error and Tyteca scored after an RBI single by Hinck.
Gaffin went 3-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Beardshear earned another complete-game victory for the Trailblazers.
The final game of the island road trip resulted in 3-2 loss. The Trailblazers took a 2-0 in the second inning off the bats of Gaffin and Bassett, each hitting an RBI single.
An RBI single in the third, and a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth gave the Sharks the lead for good.
DSU nearly tied the game in the sixth, but Hartman was thrown out while attempting to steal home. A final attempt to tie the game in the seventh was thwarted when Gaffin was thrown out at second to end the game.
“We have three tough series coming up in the coming weeks that will decide the PacWest,” Simkins said. “If we can tune up our hitting, especially in close games, then I like our chances.”
At 26-7 overall and 12-4 in the PacWest Conference, the No. 13 Trailblazers host Southern Utah University Wednesday at Karl Brooks Field at 6 p.m.