After being ranked third in the Heartland Conference preseason poll, the Oklahoma Christian University women’s softball team opened their season 1-5 in the Southeastern Regional Invitational in Durant, OK Feb. 2-4.
According to senior Bridget White, the Lady Eagles did not display their full potential and have time to improve.
“I just don’t think we are playing confidently and cohesively,” White said. “There is a lot of room for improvement and we have high potential. I don’t think it’s that important to play our very best early in the season and have everything go our way. This will give us time to learn from our mistakes. We just need to peak at the right time and we will get there.”
In the first game of the invitational against Washburn University, the Lady Eagles hit the ball eight times and scored four runs. Senior Madison Nordyke hit the ball the most for Oklahoma Christian with four, which resulted in two runs batted in.
The Lady Eagles fell behind Washburn early as the Ichabods opened the first two innings 5-0 before Oklahoma Christian scored three unanswered in the third and fourth innings to get within 2, 5-3.
With a single from Nordyke, which scored senior Kaylie Upton, the Lady Eagles closed the seventh inning with a score, but it was not enough to top Washburn.
“I think it was nerves,” White said. “We have a lot of talented players this year, and I think a lot of us played with pressure on our shoulders.”
Nordyke (0-1) pitched the 7-4 loss for the Lady Eagles throwing two strikeouts and allowing 12 hits.
For their only win of the weekend, the Lady Eagles closed the second game of the invitational against Pittsburg State University within a 4-2 victory Feb. 2.
White connected for her first home run of the season to tie the game, 2-2 at the top of the sixth inning.
Oklahoma Christian closed the seventh inning with a single from White to score senior Sheridan Fuller to give the Eagles the win, 4-2.
Upton (1-0) opened the game and pitched five innings for the Lady Eagles, only allowing Pittsburg State two runs. In the sixth inning, senior Madison Hagood entered to pitch and recorded her ninth career save, two away from setting an Oklahoma Christian school record.
On the second day, the Lady Eagles recorded only one run combined across two games.
Playing against Arkansas Tech University, Oklahoma Christian scored their solo run of the day in the sixth inning.
Senior Hunter Strickland singled up the middle of the field and scored off White’s double to left center field in the 7-1 loss to Pittsburg State.
Hagood (0-1) started the game on the mound for Oklahoma Christian, throwing two strikeouts in three innings. Freshman Hannah Andrews entered to pitch for the Lady Eagles in the fourth inning and allowed only one run in her first collegiate pitching appearance.
In the second game on Saturday against Tarleton State University, the Lady Eagles suffered a run-rule, 9-0, loss.
The Lady Texans recorded five straight runs in the second inning with two outs on the board.
Nordyke (0-2) pitched the loss for Oklahoma Christian, throwing two strikeouts in three innings of play. Upton stepped to the mound in the middle of the third inning to close the game for the Lady Eagles, allowing two runs in the bottom of the third.
In the final day of games, the Lady Eagles hit the ball 12 times in two games.
Against Missouri Southern State University, the Lady Eagles dropped their fourth game of the invitational, 8-5.
The Lady Eagles divided the scoring, as five different players crossed home for five runs.
Although they scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Lady Eagles failed to overcome the five runs scored by Missouri Southern in the top of the fourth.
Oklahoma Christian posted three different pitchers on the mound across seven innings of play. Upton (1-1) started for the Eagles and threw two strikeouts. Andrews faced one batter in the sixth and allowed one run. Then, Hagood closed the game for the Lady Eagles with three strikeouts and allowed zero runs.
The final game of the invitational against the University of Central Missouri began with two runs from each team in the first inning, but the Lady Eagles were shut out until the seventh inning.
Despite scoring two runs in the top of the seventh, Central Missouri closed the bottom of the inning with one run to win the game, 5-4.
White opened the scoring for Oklahoma Christian with her second home run of the weekend and season.
“I just had a relaxed, smooth swing on the good hits,” White said. “I was seeing the ball well. I wish I could’ve came through for the team more times with runners in scoring position, but I tensed up a couple times, producing bad results. I just want to do my role to the best of my ability.”
Hagood opened the game pitching for the Lady Eagles and threw four strikes. Nordyke (0-3) entered the game in the fifth inning and only allowed one run.
The Lady Eagles will play their home openers as they host the Edmond Regional Festival Feb. 8-9. Their first game will be against Southern Nazarene University Feb. 8 at 12 p.m.