Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Inclement weather continued to harass the Lady Eagles’ game schedule, forcing another impromptu trip to Texas and a high-stakes faceoff against conference rival St. Mary’s University.
This past weekend Oklahoma Christian University was scheduled to play St. Mary’s in Edmond, where they would also have their Senior Day celebration. Neither of these events took place as planned.
After a heavy rain on Wednesday, the Lady Eagles coaching staff made the decision to travel to Texas, yet again.
The week before Oklahoma Christian was scheduled to play The University of Texas-Permian Basin at home, but because of poor weather conditions the team detoured to Odessa, Texas.
San Antonio was the next stop for the Lady Eagles, where they would face the No. 1-ranked team in the Heartland Conference.
The nationally ranked Rattlers of St. Mary’s proved to be a competitive matchup, and sent the Lady Eagles home without a single win from the series.
“St. Mary’s had strong hitters,” sophomore Kendra Pierce said. “They also had a defense that helped their pitchers, but their hitting was what kept them in the game.”
On Friday, April 12, Oklahoma Christian played its first two games against St. Mary’s.
The first matchup found the Lady Eagles unable to wake up their bats, and the Rattlers clinched the game in six innings.
Oklahoma Christian wouldn’t put up a run on the board until the fourth inning, and they failed to add any more after that. St. Mary’s sent their last two runs across the plate in the sixth inning to end the game.
The Lady Eagles were only able to scrounge up four hits for the game, compared to the Rattlers’ 13 hits.
Pierce led at the plate with two hits, and juniors Martha Thomas and Lauren Pittman added one each. Senior Lindsy Moore pitched the entire six innings, allowing the 13 hits and eight runs.
In the second game, the Lady Eagles put up a fight but couldn’t quite pull out the win.
Thomas sent one soaring over the fence in the close game to give the Lady Eagles their first two runs of the game, and two more runs tallied in the fifth inning from Pierce’s double put Oklahoma Christian on even footing.
In the sixth inning the Rattlers broke the tie and the Lady Eagles couldn’t answer in the seventh inning, taking their second loss for the day.
Thomas finished the game with two hits. Pierce and junior Sarah Peoples had one hit each.
Sophomore Taylor Mosher started off the game and pitched three innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. Sophomore Krystal Rodriguez came in as relief and closed the game, allowing two hits and one run in two innings.
St. Mary’s won the game, 5-4.
On Saturday, the Lady Eagles realized the seriousness of the situation they had gotten themselves into. In order to go to the NCCAA regional tournament, Oklahoma Christian would have to win as many games as possible for the remainder of their schedule. Wresting a win out of San Antonio became vital for their survival in the playoffs.
St. Mary’s held the lead for six innings, shutting out Oklahoma Christian 4-0. In the seventh inning, though, the Lady Eagles decided they weren’t going to go down without a fight. Oklahoma Christian started a five-run comeback and secured the lead.
“When I got up to bat with bases loaded, all I wanted to do was hit something to the outfield so at least one run would score,” Pierce said. “I happened to score two runs, and Martha came up and hit a 3-run homer. I can’t explain the feeling I got when I crossed the plate and turned around to my teammate that just hit a homer that allowed us to take the lead. It was pretty cool.”
St. Mary’s quickly jerked away the lead, loading the bases and sent a grand slam over the fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to end the game, 8-5.
“We had determination along with a lot of fight, and of course a lot of off beat clapping; we all really wanted to beat them, and all three games we gave it our all,” Pittman said.
Junior Lauren Chatigny, Pierce, Thomas and Peoples each had two hits for the game, and sophomore Monique Elliot and junior Kala Ratliff finished with one each.
The coaching staff took on a different approach with their pitchers and had each one of the four players take a turn on the mound.
Mosher started off the game and pitched two innings, allowing two hits and two runs. Moore started off the third inning and allowed two hits and one run in two innings.
Rodriguez took her turn in the fifth inning and allowed two hits and two runs, and freshman Danielle Collins would come in and try to close the game, allowing two hits and three runs.
After a rough trip to San Antonio, the Lady Eagles came back to Edmond to receive news of a cancelled trip to Mid-America University, scheduled for April 16.
The Mid-America Evangels were forced to cancel the games in order to finish their conference games before the end of their season.
The Lady Eagles finish off the regular season down in Texas, seeking to clean out conference foe Texas A&M International University today and tomorrow for post-season qualification.
“We need to have a strong finish at the end of our softball season, which means we need to sweep Texas International this weekend,” head coach Tom Heath said. “After qualifying, we will travel to Central Baptist in Conway Arkansas on April 26 and 27 to play in the regional tournament. The winner of the regional tournament will advance to the national tournament in May.”
As for the Lady Eagles’ seniors, Moore and Michelle Miller, their Senior Day will be rescheduled to a later date.
“Lindsy’s upbeat attitude always brightens my day, and Michelle is always a great person to talk to,” Pittman said. “The seniors have really made this year enjoyable, especially during 6 a.m.’s. I wish they could have had a smoother senior year, it breaks my heart for them; they are two great people who will go on to do great things.”