Lady Eagles take positives from Arkansas tournament
Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
This past weekend the Oklahoma Christian University softball team traveled to Bentonville, Ark. for their first Division II tournament. Although they did not return with their formerly-undefeated record, they gained many positive experiences. The Lady Eagles went 1-4 in the tournament.
“Although we didn’t do as well as we would have liked to, every player on the team was able to get off the bench and see the field,” assistant coach Jessica Ruckman said. “Our pitchers were able to gain more experience, as each one had multiple outings.”
The Lady Eagles played their first games of the 7-State Classic on Friday, Feb. 15.
After traveling all the way to Arkansas, the Lady Eagles played their Oklahoma rival, Southern Nazarene University. Their first chance to face the Crimson Storm since last season, the Lady Eagles got off to a rough start in the first inning. Southern Nazarene got an early 5-0 jump on Oklahoma Christian, and the lead went unanswered until the fourth inning.
“We’ve never had very good experiences playing SNU; we’ve never won since I’ve been here,” sophomore Kendra Pierce said. “It’s a team that I would love to beat. It’s really frustrating to lose to them. We are talented enough to beat them.”
The final blow of the game came from a second Southern Nazarene home run, ending the game in the sixth inning, 13-2.
Senior Lindsy Moore allowed seven runs and eight hits, and sophomore Krystal Rodriguez allowed six runs.
Pierce led the team with two hits, juniors Kala Ratliff, Martha Thomas and Lauren Pittman added one hit each, and sophomore Monique Elliot also recorded one hit. Elliot and senior Sarah Peoples each had one RBI.
The Lady Eagles played a second game Friday against Southern Missouri State University, and had the same less-than-desired outcome as the first. The only run of the entire game would come from the first inning: a home run from Southern Missouri’s three-hole hitter.
For the remainder of the game neither team scored, and the Lady Eagles surrendered another loss for the day.
Sophomore Courtney Starr led the team with two hits and the only other hit of the game came from Pittman. Sophomore Taylor Mosher pitched the entire game and allowed one run and five hits.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, the Lady Eagles were scheduled to play two games. However, after Oklahoma Christian played the first inning of their game, the coaches made a combined decision to cancel the game due to poor field conditions.
“The field continued to get worse as the game went on, but when Kala slipped trying to field a bunt, we knew that under the circumstances the field could be dangerous,” Pierce said.
The Lady Eagles only went through five batters in their lineup, but had already jumped on Northwestern Missouri University 2-1 in the first inning.
The second game was scheduled for a different location, and the Lady Eagles were able to play. The matchup against Oklahoma Christian and the University of Arkansas at Monticello resulted in yet another loss for the team. An early jump from the Monticello Blossoms left the Lady Eagles trying to get out of a five-run hole for the remainder of the game.
In the fifth inning the Lady Eagles attempted a comeback by narrowing the lead 5-3, but in the end they could not pull out the win.
Moore started out the second game for the Lady Eagles and allowed two hits and four runs. Rodriguez came in for one inning and allowed three hits and one run, and freshman Danielle Collins finished out the game, only allowing one hit and striking out three.
Ratliff and Pierce each contributed three hits for the Lady Eagles, while Elliot recorded two. Thomas, Pittman, Peoples and senior Michelle Miller added one hit each.
The Lady Eagles concluded the tournament Sunday with games against Missouri Western State University and Rockhurst University.
The first game started out in the Lady Eagles’ favor, as they took an early lead of 2-0. However, Missouri Western soon fought back and took the lead at 3-2. From there, the back-and-forth fight ended with a final score of 6-4, after the Lady Eagles battled back from a three-run home run by Missouri Western.
Collins had her first career start on the mound, allowing six hits and four runs. She also contributed in the batting lineup by adding her first career homerun for the Lady Eagles.
“I’m so proud of our freshman Danielle; she is proving to be a very clutch all-around player,” Miller said. “I’m so glad she decided to come to Oklahoma Christian. As a fellow lone freshman, I can relate to her on many different levels. We have a very special senior-freshman bond.”
Moore came in for relief in the fifth and allowed one hit and two runs, and Rodriguez finished the game, allowing no hits or runs.
Peoples led the team with three hits and one RBI, Pierce had two hits and two RBIs, and Chatigny, Miller and Thomas had one hit each.
The last game of the tournament found the Lady Eagles ending on a positive note; Oklahoma Christian beat Rockhurst 3-2.
“We competed well with every team that we faced this weekend, and it was encouraging to see the team fight the whole way through the game to come out with a win to end the tournament,” Ruckman said.
The Lady Eagles scored in the top of the second inning when Pierce doubled to score Pittman and Chatigny, putting them in the lead 2-0. Rockhurst answered back in the bottom of the second with one run and tied the game in the bottom of the third. Oklahoma Christian regained the lead and sealed the win, scoring in the top of the sixth inning when Miller doubled to score Starr.
Chatigny led the team with two hits, and Miller, Pittman and Pierce added one hit each.
Mosher started on the mound for the Lady Eagles, allowing four hits and two runs in three innings. Rodriguez came in as relief and allowed three hits and no runs.
Oklahoma Christian played a doubleheader against Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Tuesday, Feb.19.
In the first game the Lady Eagles came out on top, winning 6-1. Moore pitched the entire game, allowing one run and four hits.
The Lady Eagles recorded 11 hits total in the first game. Collins, Pierce, Thomas and Ratliff had two hits each. Collins and Thomas each had a homerun, Ratliff recorded a triple and Pierce had a double. Thomas recorded three RBI’s and Collins recorded two.
Despite a late attempt for a comeback in the seventh inning, Northwestern came out on top in the second game. The Lady Eagles lost to the Rangers 6-2.
Mosher started out on the mound for the Lady Eagles and allowed one hit and one run in one inning. Rodriguez came in as relief and allowed six hits and four runs in four innings. Collins finished out the last two innings and allowed one run off of one hit.
Peoples led the team with two hits, a homerun and a bunt and Pittman had one hit, a double.
The Lady Eagles play Cameron University today at 2:45 in Choctaw, Okla.