By Angela Halafuka
The BYU Women”s softball team won their first three games at the “Softball by the Beach” Invitational in California before the final two games were cancelled because of heavy rain.
They are riding a five-game winning streak as the Cougars now improve to 5-3 on the season.
The two cancelled games were against Florida International University and Central Florida University, and although it wasn”t the way the Cougars hoped the tournament would end, they felt confident as a team, said Gordon Eakin, women”s softball coach.
“I was pleased with the total team effort,” he said. “We came out and competed very well and had a solid defensive performance.”
In the tournament, the Cougars played with more intensity than previous games, which was quite a different compared to the effort given at the Paradise Classic. Individuals who made major contributions included Paige Paramore, Krystle Chamberlain, Jennifer Whiteley and Lauren Watson.
During the first day of the tournament, against the Gauchos, the Cougars jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and led for most of the game.
In the second inning, Cougar sophomore Paige Paramore, a University of Texas at San Antonio transfer, recorded her first home run of her BYU career with a solo shot to left field. The Cougars ended up winning the game 6-2.
With the loss, the Gauchos now fall to 10-7 on the season.
It was an exciting second day for the Cougars as they shutout UC Riverside 7-0. They came out strong against the Highlanders to score seven runs, many of which were the results of a strong performance from Paramore. She had a perfect game going 3-for-3 from the plate and also picked up her second home run of the season.
Freshman Krystle Chamberlain went 2-for-4, and Whitley and Watson each posted 2-for-3 performances. The Cougars held UC Riverside scoreless, the first shutout of the season for BYU.
In the third game against Loyola Marymount, the Cougars faced some tough competition down to the wire. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third off a hit from Whiteley who had an RBI to bring Chamberlain home.
LMU came back and had a huge third inning, taking a 6-1 lead. However, the Cougars didn”t allow the large deficit to slow them down. During the sixth inning junior Milli Jones had a single followed by another single by senior Kate Walker. Then freshman Jodi Norton hit a big three-run homer to bring the Cougars within two runs.
Chamberlain and Whiteley both singled to put two runners on base before huge hitter Ianeta Le`i lifted the team with her exciting three-run homer to take the lead. That did it for the Cougars who pulled out the win 7-6.
Next up for the Cougars is the Hyatt Regency Cougar Classic on Feb. 26-28 in Houston, Texas.