Offense spends day in the infield
Bacone takes lead in fifth, wins 4-1
Nance collects two hits and lone RBI
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- As close as a fingernail is to the quick, so is the narrowing, competitive balance between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and their opposition.
On a sunsplashed Friday afternoon at the Lady Lions’ campus ball field, they battled Bacone College (Ok) evenly until the Warriors took advantage of a few miscues to post a 4-1 triumph over SAGU.
A year after averaging just 1.5 runs per game, Team Purple has risen to 4.5.
But in games against veteran teams in the Red River Athletic Conference the Lady Lions’ offense and defense still shows their need for growth.
But they are getting close.
SAGU took an early lead, courtesy of a pair of sophomores. The solo tally came in the bottom of the second.
Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) spanked a pitch to deep centerfield, beyond the head of Chelsea Schuler. She trotted into second with her eighth double of the season, tying Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS).
After a strike out, Shannen (Davis) Nance (Enid, Ok / Kremlin-Hillsdale HS) smashed an RBI single up the middle to score Poovey for a 1-0 lead. It would last until the fifth.
The Lady Lions were muffling a potent Warriors attack for the first half of the game.
Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx / Kennedale HS) shut them out through three innings, allowing just four hits – one when an outfielder slipped and fell down.
She retired seven batters in the infield, including one on a grounder to Coburn at third with the bases loaded in the third.
A pitching change occurred in the fourth and with it went the game’s momentum.
Bacone loaded the bases again in the fourth on two walks and a Texas Leaguer to left, but Nance, the staff ace, got out of the jam.
She taught one batter to behold the power of cheese and then coaxed their No. 3 hitter pop-up to Poovey at shortstop.
In the fifth, however, Bacone would finally breakthrough.
Tarah Moutray, their leading hitter, lifted a high ball to right that turned Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian) around as the ball twisted like a nest of snakes in the air towards the corner. She advanced to third on a single by Keri Schmidt.
An ill-advised throw from home to third in a bid to nab Moutray went awry when a SAGU defender (who was covering third) missed catching the strike. The ball rolled into leftfield, where the ball was over-ran, allowing the tying run to score easily.
A wild pitch sent Schmidt to second, where she scored on a base knock to center off the bat of Schuler. It would be the game-winning run.
Abair returned to the circle for the last two innings. Bacone tacked on single insurance runs, both scoring on sacrifice flies.
The game’s best defensive play was made by SAGU freshman Huff. In the top of the seventh she charged a sinking liner in shallow rightfield, diving forward to snare the ball just off the top of the grass. Huff made it appear routine.
Offense struggles during losing skid
The Lady Lions, who have been shutout three times and held to one run twice in the past five games, threatened in both the sixth and seventh.
Errors put Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Poovey on base with one out in the sixth, trailing 3-1.
The Tribe then called on their ace, Taylor Paulson. She sat down the next two batters, one watching a called third strike, the other popping up.
Abair walked with one out in the seventh, and then dashed to third when Cassandra Mata (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS) sent a ball to shallow right that landed fair, then bounced into foul territory. Mata came up hobbling after a slide into second.
Paulson again escaped unscathed. The senior earned her first save by getting the next two batters on an infield fly and a grounder to second base.
Lucy Walter got credit for the win, upping her record to 8-7, while Nance (6-10) was saddled with the loss.
Abair lasted five innings, faced 24 batters and gave up seven hits, two walks, hit on batter and two earned runs.
Nance pitched to 10 batters, yielding five hits, two earned runs, hit a batter and fanned two others.
Bacone outhit the Pride, 12-5, as three players collected two hits each; Krissy Froelich, Schmidt and Lauren Peraza.
SAGU’s attack was led by Nance, who went 2-for-3 with a double and a run batted in (RBI). Poovey and Mata each had a double and Krock contributed a bunt single.
The Lady Lions attack had little punch on Friday. Of the 21 outs they made in the game, seven were the result of pop-ups and another 11 were groundouts or a fielder’s choice. They left eight runners on base, struck out thrice and didn’t hit a fly out of the infield.
It was the 13th time this season the team has been held to two runs or less. They lost each time.
Saturday DH to honor Mata, Wyatt
SAGU and Bacone will square off again on Saturday, on campus, in a doubleheader. The first game is set for an 11:00am start.
Following the game there is a brief ceremony to honor the team’s two seniors; Mata and Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS).
The second game will begin approximately thirty minutes after the first.
Southwestern hopes to snap their 10-game losing streak in the process. During the skid the team has scored 15 runs, an average of 1.5 per game, last year's average.
The team also seeks to tend to a 1-11 record at home.
The Lady Lions will be back on the field on Monday, April 15. Hillsdale College (Ok) and SAGU have a twinbill on tap for 2:00pm.
SAGU’s final home game will take place on Tuesday, April 23, when Northwood University visits for a 4:00pm contest.