Georgia State defeated Hofstra 4-2 and 2-0 on Friday to win its first CAA championship in softball.
Lauren Jones hit a three-run homer on a waist-high, inside fastball in the first game to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning and a run-scoring single on a changeup in the sixth inning of the second to spark the offense. Alana Thomas was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after pitching both games. She allowed three hits in the second game.
In securing a spot in the NCAA tournament by winning the CAA, the Panthers did something few have done: beat Hofstra, which has won the event eight out of the last nine years. NCAA pairings will be announced at 10 p.m. Sunday. The team will have a viewing party at the restaurant Six Feet Under.
Coming through the loser’s bracket, the Panthers knew they would likely have to beat Hofstra twice to win the title. Even though the Pride had defeated the Panthers seven consecutive times, the challenge didn’t scare the players. Coach Roger Kincaid said they figured if they could win the first game, anything could happen in the second.
“We’ve gotten closer and closer every time we’ve played,” Jones said. “We had no doubt.”
The wins capped what has been a rough season for Thomas. Kincaid said Thomas has been victimized by bad luck and errors throughout. In pitching her first doubleheader in college, she said all the bad breaks led to Friday’s big moment.
“It was a tough year,” she said. “I was in tough situations. All of the games that I pitched we would barely lose. The team was behind me all day today.”
She said her arm’s a little sore, but “It’s all worth it. It could fall off, I don’t care.”