Laura Hirai stars in US college playoff game

Wed 8 May 2019

GB fastpitch softball player Laura Hirai played a starring role for her Swarthmore College team in the United States recently as the team came from behind to win a post-season Centennial Conference playoff game over Ursinus College.

In their first appearance in conference playoffs since 2009, fourth-seeded Swarthmore had lost to top seed Haverford in the first game of a double-elimination playoff round and needed to beat third-seeded Ursinus to stay alive.

Ursinus took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, but Swarthmore rallied for three runs in the top of the third, sparked by back-to-back triples to lead off the inning by Laura, who is in her freshman year at the school, and senior Marit Vike.

Coming into the top of the seventh inning, Swarthmore was still down by a score of 4-3, but Laura and Marit Vike again led off the inning with hits, and Laura scored the tying run as Swarthmore went on to take a 6-3 lead.  Although Ursinus scored two in the bottom of the seventh, Swarthmore prevailed by 6-5.

Sadly, the team then lost in a re-match against Haverford and finished in third place in the conference, though Laura also had two hits in that game.

Laura Hirai has played in all 37 games for Swarthmore this season, 35 as a starter at second base, and hit .258 for the season as a left-handed slap hitter, with two triples and an on-base percentage of .364.

Laura played for the GB Under-19 Women's Team from 2015-18 and is currently on the long list for selection to the 2019 GB Under-22 Team that will compete this summer in the Canada Cup.

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