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Record: 0-0 Home: 0-0 Away: 0-0 HAAC: 0-0
Softball - Tue, May 16, 2017
Avila picked up their first NAIA Opening Round win vs. Vanguard, but fell to Oregon Tech in the semifinals. (Photo Credit: Ja
Avila picked up their first NAIA Opening Round win vs. Vanguard, but fell to Oregon Tech in the semifinals. (Photo Credit: Ja

Costa Mesa, CA - The Eagles knocked off host and No. 2 seed Vanguard to reach the semifinals of the Costa Mesa Bracket, but were unable to defeat No. 3 Oregon Tech as their season came to a close on Tuesday evening.

Avila picked up a historic victory over Vanguard to start their day, picking up a 5-3 victory over the hosts to advance into the semifinals of the Costa Mesa Bracket. The victory extended the program record for wins in a season to 37, and it also gave Avila their first ever victory in the NAIA Opening Round.

Avila's victory over Vanguard set up a matchup with No. 3 seed Oregon Tech for a date in the Costa Mesa Bracket Final, but it was not in the cards as the Eagles fell to the Owls, 7-2 to end their season. The Eagles held a 1-0 lead entering the fifth, but the Owls would score seven runs over the final three frames to earn a comeback victory over Avila.

Box Score: (2) Vanguard - 3 vs. (4) Avila - 5

Hayden Roberts and Madison Roberts combined for three hits and four RBIs as the Eagles made history on Tuesday with a victory over Vanguard (Calif.) to advance to the semifinals of the Costa Mesa Bracket in Costa Mesa, Calif. The win was Avila's first ever in the NAIA Opening Round, and their first ever postseason victory outside of conference tournament play.

Hayden Roberts gave Avila an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when she hit an opposite field single to score Mackenzie Pritchett and Samantha Dexter. Avila's first inning lead was their first ever in NAIA Opening Round play, coming in their fourth game, and they never gave it back on Tuesday.

Madison Roberts doubled Avila's lead in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single of her own, driving home Kaycee Dexter and Madison Cole for a 4-0 lead after three innings.

The score remained the same until the top of the fifth when Vanguard mounted a comeback, plating three runs in the inning to cut Avila's lead to 4-3. Back-to-back doubles to lead off the fifth by Vanguard made it a 4-1 game, and then after a walk, Britany Heinle singled to make it a 4-2 game. That single would knock Abby King from the game as Head Coach Samantha Honeycutt opted for Kayleigh Behymer, who got the final two outs but surrendered one more run to make it a 4-3 game.

The Eagles would answer immediately in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff triple from Kaycee Dexter, followed by a triple from Megan Manestar to give the Eagles a 5-3 lead. That lead was enough for Behymer, who breezed through the final two innings to pick up the save for the Eagles as they advanced into the Costa Mesa Bracket Semifinals.

Abby King picked up the win for the Eagles, giving up 3 runs over 4 1/3 innings. King was a magician through the first four frames, getting out of a pair of bases loaded jams while ultimately stranding nine baserunners through four innings. King pitched around two first inning errors, and was able to pitch around two more in her time in the circle, which ultimatley put the Eagles in a position to win the game.

The victory gave the Eagles 37 victories in 2017, two more than the team's previous season record of 35, which was set in 2016.

Box Score: (3) Oregon Tech - 7 vs. (4) Avila - 2

The Eagles held an early lead over Oregon Tech in Tuesday's Costa Mesa Bracket Semifinal, but they were unable to keep the Owls off the board late as they ultimately fell, 7-2 to end their season one game short of the Finals.

Avila took an early 1-0 lead over the Owls in the bottom of the first on a Kaycee Dexter sacrifice fly that brought home Mackenzie Pritchett. Pritchett reached on a one out walk, and then was moved to third on a ground rule double from Samantha Dexter before Kaycee's sac fly.

The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Eagles through the first three innings before Oregon Tech tied the game at 1 in the top of the fourth on a Rachael Delamare bloop single. The Owls would plate two more in the fifth after a two out walk with the bases empty turned into a pair of runs after a double and a single. That also chased Behymer from the circle, with King coming on in relief to get the final out of the fifth inning.

Oregon Tech would plate another run in the sixth inning to build a 4-1 lead, but the Eagles would answer in the bottom half when Mackenzie Pritchett raced home on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game. The Owls then plated three more runs in the seventh to take a 7-2 lead, and the Eagles were unable to plate the necessary five runs in the bottom of the seventh as they ultimately fell by the score of 7-2.

The loss ended arguably the most successful season in Avila Softball history as the Eagles set the program record for wins for a third consecutive season and also picked up their first NAIA Opening Round victory.

The senior class closed out their careers with 115 victories, which is the most all-time by any class in program history. This class also finished with 12 Heart Tournament victories, the most all time, and of course today's lone NAIA Opening Round victory. They were also a part of the team's first and only two Heart Tournament Championships and NAIA Opening Round Appearances, earning a trip to the Oregon Tech Bracket back in 2015 to go with this season's selection into the Costa Mesa Bracket.