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Hawaii Hilo Gets To Kasner, Vikings To Open Regional
Lauren Lo led Western Washington by going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles. Photo by Jeff Evans.
Lauren Lo led Western Washington by going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles. Photo by Jeff Evans.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

IRVINE, Calif. – Hawaii Hilo needed to knock out the West Region Pitcher of The Year to advance in the NCAA Division II West Regional on Wednesday.

The No. 5 seeded Vulcans did just that, scoring three runs off of senior Anna Kasner to beat No. 4 seeded Western Washington, 3-0, in the opening game of the tournament at Eagles Field on the campus of Concordia Irvine.

Kasner dropped to 13-4 on the season with the loss, allowing the three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks, striking out four in two innings of work. While the Vulcans solved Kasner, Valerie Alvarado threw an eight-hit shutout, allowing one walk and striking out three to improve to 6-4 on the year.

With the loss, Western Washington (23-13) will face the loser of the second game of the tournament between Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington in an elimination game at 5 p.m.

The Vulcans (18-11) got to Kasner early. Darian Obara drew a one-out walk and Vevesi Liilii followed with a two-run homer to left-center field for the early lead. Markie Okamoto added a double before Kasner succeeded in striking out the next two batters to end the inning.

After stranding a leadoff single in the second, the top of the order succeeded to chase Kasner from the circle in what was only her third outing of two innings or less this season. Obara led off with a single and Liilii walked before Obara scored on an error for the 3-0 lead.

Reliever Kira Doan proceeded to settle the UHH bats down, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four the rest of the way.

The Western Washington offense had its chances, leaving nine runners on base, including six in scoring position. The Vikings had hits in each of the first five innings and had their best scoring chance in the fourth with junior Lauren Lo hitting a leadoff double and advancing to third on Doan’s fly out before two ground ball outs quelled the threat. Lo reached again with a one-out double in the sixth but Alvarado got the next two batters to line out.

The Vikings had offensive life once again in the seventh. Junior Dakota Brooks hit a one-out double and junior Chantelle Shimabukuro followed with a single that advanced pinch-runner Megan Marino to third. Pinch-runner Rachel Christensen moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before Alvarado closed the game with a fly-out and a ground-out.

Lo and senior Mackenzie Palmer each went 2 for 3 to lead Western Washington offensively. Okamoto and Skyler Thomas each had two hits for Hawaii Hilo.

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