Denver, Colo. - Gabriella Valforte’s sixth inning grand slam lifted West Texas A&M to a 4-1 victory over Biola ]to win the 2021 NCAA Division II Softball Championship. The victory marked the program’s second national title, winning their first in 2014.
After five scoreless innings, the Lady Buffs (43-12) found themselves down 1-0 after Kayla Neff’s solo home run with two outs in the top of the sixth. It was Neff’s third long ball of the tournament.
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In the bottom half of the frame, Shanna McBroom led off with a single back up the middle. With one out, Erica Vessel was plunked and Alyx Cordell drew a walk to load the base for Valforte. The freshman deposited the first pitch from Paige Austin deep over the centerfield fence for the go-ahead homer.
Kyra Lair (25-6) went the distance for WT allowing a run on four hits with a strikeout and two walks. The sophomore hurler finished the tournament 4-1.
For Austin, that was the only blemish on an otherwise stellar championship week. The junior twirled 34.1 scoreless consecutive innings before the long ball ended the streak. Austin finished 4-1, tossed shutouts against the top two ranked teams – Augustana and North Georgia – in the country and a third in game one of the championship series versus the Lady Buffs.