Lady Lions fall 6-5 in twinbill
Johnson, Davis pitch well vs. Bacone
SAGU plays home finale on Tuesday
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- It has been said that the road to the future is always under construction. Then consider the women’s softball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University is on the right path.
Saturday in the town made famous for electing the nation’s youngest mayor (John Tyler Hammons, 19, 2008) and a 1969 country song about Okies, the Lady Lions proved their grit in a doubleheader against Bacone College.
The outcomes only added to the loss column in a pair of 5-0 and 6-5 setbacks, but for head coach Tim Grant, the team-on-the-make is taking shape.
“We keep battling and we keep getting better,” he said from the team bus as they made their 265-mile southbound trek to Waxahachie. “This team is driven to improve.”
SAGU built a 3-0 lead before the Warriors scored four in the third and twice in the bottom of the sixth. They held off a Lady Lions' comeback in the seventh, 6-5.
It captured Southwestern’s undying spirit in this, their inaugural season.
Team Lioness grabbed a 2-0 lead by doing something the go-getters haven’t done often, showing patience at the plate. They took two walks in the three-game series, both in this game, each time resulting in a run.
After Chelsey Doyle (Seattle, Wash / Shorecrest HS) ripped a leadoff single up the middle, Loni Jimenez (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS) was issued a base on balls.
Shannen Davis (Kremlin, Ok / Kremlin-Hillsdale HS) grounded a hot smash the second baseman couldn’t handle. After bobbling the potato, her throw was wild for two fries on one play. Doyle dashed home on the play, with Jimenez advancing to third while Davis took second.
Kayla Westbrook (Milano, Tx / Milano HS) was plunked by a pitch to load the bases. Bree Lawrence (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) got on-board when her grounder was booted by the shortstop, giving SAGU a second run without the benefit of a hit. With the bases still loaded, the rally died on a strike out and a pop fly.
SAGU added a run when Kelsea Svochak (Ft. Worth, Tx / Bethesda HS) pounded a double to left, then was driven in on a double in the gap in leftcenter off the bat of Jimenez.
Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Lauren Johnson (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and the defense kept the Warriors off the scoreboard. Each of the first two innings ended with third baseman Svochak making a tag out, the latter when Doyle, who was catching, gunned down a would-be base thief.
Bacone put together a 4-run third with only one well-hit ball. Two wild pitches, a stolen base, a dropped fly at shortstop and a missed cutoff throw from centerfield paved the way for the big inning.
The fourth was similar, with the Warriors getting three soft infield hits and a walk. A force out at home on a throw by Svochak preceded a line-drive that Kyla Burke (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) snared at short.
Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) and Jimenez rapped two-out singles in the fifth but were stranded with the Lady Lions still trailing 4-3.
SAGU came through in the sixth. Lawrence walked and blazed around the horn to score the equalizer on a deep double to leftcenter by Burke.
The Lions yielded the lead for good in the bottom of that frame. An infield single was followed by a stolen base, a fly out to Brenda Moody (Alvarado, Tx / Alvarado HS) in left, a wild pitch and a walk. With one out and runners on the corners, a grounder was gloved by Burke, but her throw to first went awry allowing the lead run to score. A wild pitch gave way for a 6-4 lead.
Southwestern, needed two to tie in the seventh. They came close.
Grant called on Cassy Mata (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS), who has been out while nursing an arm injury. She grounded out to third in a bid to get a baserunner for the power hitters Poovey and Davis.
Poovey, with a pitch to her liking, almost got enough of it for a solo dinger. She had to settle for a deep double to leftcenter. Davis nearly duplicated her feat with an RBI shot to the same spot.
A groundball to short and a pop-up to the catcher ended a game that was decided by the narrowest of margins.
Bacone out-hit SAGU 12-9 with a 3-2 edge in walks.
Doyle makes it rain, spoiling no-hitter in first game
The first game saw the Tribe’s ace Taylor Paulson improve her record to 15-9 with a one-hit, complete game shutout. She struck out eight and didn’t allow a walk for the second game in as many days. She took the series opener on Friday, 9-1.
Paulson had better stuff on Saturday, using just 79 pitches. The Lions didn’t hit a ball out of the infield until Poovey lifted a fly to center with two outs in the fifth.
The junior right-hander retired the next five batters; four on the ground; one swinging.
One out away from a no-hitter, Doyle - from the showery Pacific Northwest, stepped up to rain on the BC parade. She wristed a single to shallow right that drew umbrellas.
SAGU’s Davis deserved a better fate. The Oklahoma native (north of Enid) yielded only six hits, all singles, and a pair of walks. Of the 18 batters she retired, just two were able to lift a fly beyond the infield.
Only two of the five runs were earned as errors at short, third and behind the plate – all committed in the fourth when the red-clad Warriors scored thrice.
They had a single run in the first on a wild pitch and final tally, sans a base hit, in the sixth. A walk, two wild pitches and a ground ball permitted the baserunner to step her way homeward.
Lumber leader: Poovey hits .375
SAGU was held to .157 hitting (11-70) during the series. Poovey went 3-of-8 to lead the squad with a .375 average. The freshman continues to peak down the stretch. Her two runs were tops as well.
Doyle and Jimenez both hit .286 (2-of-7) and Davis swung a .250 (2-of-8) bat. Complete team totals are posted below.
Defensively, Svochak made 11 put-outs, one more than Poovey. Burke had eight and Davis accounted for seven.
In regards to assists (throw outs), Johnson was best with seven. Svochak and Jimenez each sat down four with their arms.
Bacone’s overall record improved to 19-19 with their fifth consecutive win. The Warriors are 10-5 since March 16.
With a 14-7 mark in the Red River Athletic Conference places them in fourth behind Texas Wesleyan University (14-4), Our Lady of the Lake University (13-4) and Northwood University (11-4).
The RRAC tournament in Farmers Branch (Oran Good Park), May 3-5, could be a good one for more reasons than the name of the site.
The top six teams qualify for the double-elimination event. It appears that Langston University (15-13, 12-9) and the University of the Southwest (17-19, 11-10) will round out the six receiving a bid to the RRAC tourney.
Just a year ago, Bacone finished next to last at 10-33. Northwood won both the regular season (37-13, 18-3) and the tourney when they beat Texas Wesleyan (25-29) in the final, 9-0.
Lady Lions close home season with Tuesday showdown
SAGU has three games remaining in their initial foray into college softball. Next Saturday, April 21, they are in Shawnee to face Oklahoma Baptist University in a doubleheader that is set for a 1pm start. The Lady Bison are currently 19-17.
The Lady Lions (2-23, 1-21 in RRAC) will play host to Texas College (1-24, 1-16 RRAC) on Tuesday, April 17, at 4:00pm. The winner will likely finish in eighth place in the nine team league.
The teams split a pair of games in Waxahachie last Tuesday. SAGU won the opener by a 4-2 prior to the Lady Steers’ 8-6 victory in the nightcap.
Weekend Batting Totals: (at bats-runs-hits-RBI)
Poovey 8-2-3-0 .375, Jimenez 7-1-2-1 .286, Doyle 7-1-2-0 .286, Davis 8-0-2-1 .250, Johnson 8-0-1-0 .125, Svochak 9-1-1-0 .111, Burke 9-0-1-1 .111, Mata 1-0-0-0, Lawrence 6-1-0-0, Westbrook 7-0-0-0. Team 70-6-11-3 .157.
Defensive Totes: (putouts-assists)
Svochak 11-4, Poovey 10-1, Burke 8-2, Davis 7-3, Lawrence 5-1, Doyle 3-3, Westbrook 2-2, Johnson 1-8, Jimenez 0-4.