The most improbable championship of 2021 has to be the one Long Beach State softball won, and that’s why it’s No. 6 on our list of top Long Beach sports moments of the year.
LBSU hosted the final Big West Conference series of the regular season against Cal State Fullerton in May. The Titans came into the weekend without a conference loss, but the Beach swept their rivals to steal the Big West championship.
“It’s an incredible feeling and definitely one of the biggest accomplishments at this field,” LBSU coach Kim Sowder said. “This was a tough battle but we’ve been in games where we had to battle back and we knew we had to win every game to achieve our goal and win the conference. We put that pressure on ourselves every week and I think that helped us.”
Fullerton was trying to win a fifth consecutive conference championship. It’s the ninth Big West title for LBSU, and its first since 2014.
“Their reign is over and it’s time for us to claim the prize,” LBSU pitcher Kellie White said. “This was the moment we’d been waiting for and practiced for, so there was no doubt we were going to win.”
Because of injuries to the staff and her experience in the circle, White was called on to pitch all three games of the series and she didn’t disappoint. The senior righty pitched two complete games on Friday, and came back to pitch another complete game gem on Saturday while scattering four hits and one walk. In the three games combined, White gave up only 11 hits in 21 innings while 213 of her 334 total pitches were strikes. She struck out 22 batters on the weekend.
“I’m not surprised but I’m super proud,” Sowder said. “That’s the hardest thing to do is play against an undefeated team and sweep them. We took it one at a time, got some momentum, they believed in each other and they wanted it. They just showed up and performed.”