By: Blake Bolin
A miserable morning turned into an unforgettable experience this past weekend for Louisiana Tech softball junior Dacia Hale.
On the morning of May 10, the Hillsboro, Oregon native Hale awoke battling a twenty four hour stomach virus, but that didn’t change her mindset as she prepared for the opening game of the Western Athletic Conference Softball Tournament later that afternoon.
The Techsters were set to face the third seed, Fresno State, a team Louisiana Tech had never beaten twice in a single season.
Back home, the Hale family gathered around their television to watch their daughter compete for a WAC championship, but even they could not have expected the show Dacia was set to put on.
Louisiana Tech rallied for seventeen runs, scoring every inning, as the Techsters went on to ten-run-rule Fresno State, backed behind the bat of the centerfielder Dacia Hale.
“You could feel it, it was gone. I didn’t know if it was fair or not, but it was going to be far.”
Those were the thoughts from Hale as her third homerun of the game left the bat in the sixth inning against Fresno State. Hale finished the game with three homeruns and 11 runs batted in.
“I remember rounding second and thinking oh my, gosh, I just hit three home runs in one game,” commented Hale on the remarkable feat.
The game was split over two days after rain halted play during the fifth inning on day one. Hale had already homered in the second and third innings, breaking Tech’s single game record by driving in eight runs.
Hale did not want expectations to be too high when the game resumed play the following day.
“After the first day I didn’t want to make any expectations, I just wanted to go hit,” explained Hale.
The pressure was on for Hale in her final at bat, and she knew it.
“I knew that there was a lot expected but I didn’t expect anything from myself. I went in to each at bat thinking I just wanted to get a base hit,” remarked Hale on her mindset going into the final at bat.
Hale not only got a hit, but exceeded expectations by belting her second three run homerun of the game during her final at bat in the sixth inning. Hale shattered multiple Louisiana Tech records, while also tying the NCAA single game RBI record. The record breaking day caught national headlines as Dacia was featured on ESPNU’s Sportscenter.
“I was sitting there and thought this is ESPN U and that’s me hitting a homerun. It was just fun to get noticed for doing something good.”
Hale set single game Louisiana Tech records for homeruns (3), runs batted in (11), and total bases (12).
The Techsters defeated Nevada before eventually being eliminated by Fresno State in the WAC quarterfinals.
While coming up a tad bit short, the Techsters will use this season WAC tournament as motivation for the future.
“Beating a team like Fresno 17-7 lets us know we can do it. We just run ruled a team that has never missed an NCAA tournament. I think that’s an inspiration. Every time we’re having a bad game or stretch just think back to that game to know that we hit the best pitchers in our conference,” reflected Hale on what the team will take from the tournament.
The bar is set high for 2013 as Hale has big expectations for the Techsters, “Our goal is to win the WAC, we have some teams leaving and some teams coming in and I think we have a really good chance of coming out on top next year.”