SEATTLE – Washington freshman Kimberlee Souza looked like the calmest person in the ballpark when she blasted the biggest hit of the Huskies’ softball season Friday night, and she looked even calmer when she described it.
“It was just a normal hit,” Souza said with a softball-sized grin after her fourth-inning double produced all the runs in a 2-0 victory over Harvard in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Souza, Washington’s No. 9 hitter, was being too modest. The Huskies had lost seven in a row – the last three by shutout – and had not played in 12 days. Souza changed positions with Courtney Gano and moved from shortstop to third base for the first time this season, but that didn’t faze her, either.
“It’s the same game we’ve been playing since (we) were 5 years old,” Souza insisted.
Souza hammered her double to left-center to drive in Jerrin Fa’asua and Shawna Wright. Those two had back-to-back singles with one out – Fa’asua on a bunt – for Washington’s first hits since Nikia Williams tripled to right-center with two out in the third for the Huskies’ first hit.
Asked if she knew what kind of pitch she hit for her double, Souza kept on smiling and admitted, “Nope.”
Harvard’s Rachel Brown (19-6) drew praise from the Huskies for her pitch location, but the two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Year said she gave Souza a juicy rise ball.
“She had a great swing,” Brown said.
UW’s Kaitlin Inglesby (19-10), throwing much harder than Brown, fashioned a three-hitter with seven strikeouts before 970 fans.
The 18th-ranked Huskies (37-17) face 23rd-ranked Texas Tech (41-15) today at 1 p.m. at Husky Softball Field. Maryland (34-21), a 6-1 loser to Tech in Friday’s early game, faces Harvard (33-14) in a loser-out game at 3:30.
The Washington-Tech loser meets the Maryland-Harvard winner in another loser-out contest at 6 p.m. The double-elimination Seattle Regional concludes Sunday.