Lady Lions end skid, split twinbill
Abair tosses two-hitter in shutout
Wyatt, Huff, Poovey shine in 4-0 win
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University softball team put the brakes on a losing streak with an impressive shutout of Hillsdale College (Ok) in the opener of a Monday doubleheader.
A sun-drenched afternoon also witnessed the team lose the second game in a debatable forfeiture of a game that was tied 8-8 in the fourth inning. (Read ensuing article for the details)
SAGU, now 12-21, defeated Hillsdale in a 4-0 verdict behind a commanding performance by the defense.
Pitcher Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx /Frank Phillips College, Kennedale HS), now 3-5, threw a complete game two-hitter in which she faced the minimum of 21 batters. She struck out five and walked three.
Freshman Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) supplied the offense by driving in a pair of runs while collecting two hits in three trips to the plate.
Abair retired eight batters on grounders, including the last five in order, and got another five on pop-ups in the infield.
Once the sophomore got out of a bases loaded jam in the second, she mowed down the visiting Saints. She sat down the line-up 1-2-3 in each of the final four innings.
A single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs in the second. The righthander proceeded to escape unscathed. She grabbed a hot shot up the middle and threw to Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS) to force the lead runner at home.
The defensive play of the day came next. Charly Owen, the Saints’ second baseman, sliced a flair down the rightfield line. As the ball curved foul, a hard-charging Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian) made a remarkable catch at her shoe tops.
Abair then sat down the following batter on high cheese.
She also benefitted from three additional plays by the infield.
Nursing a 3-0 lead in the fifth, the Saints’ leadoff hitter Julia Dearning hit a soft single to leftfield with two outs. She was then picked off by Wyatt, with shortstop Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) applying the tag.
In the next inning, Wyatt again donned her “Wyatt Earp” deputy sheriff badge. Hillsdale’s Destine (DES-tin-ee) Rangel was at third base. After walking, Rangel stole second base and advanced to third on a groundout by Ashley Scott.
That was as close as she would get. Wyatt gunned her down after she strayed too far off the base on Scott’s grounder.
Poovey not only fielded the two-hop smash with a smooth backhand, but fired to Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) at first. But, when Hankins threw to Wyatt at the plate, she snuck in behind Coburn at third, taking Wyatt’s laser to surprise Rangel.
Team Lioness produces early 3-0 lead
SAGU gathered nine hits and three walks against Hillsdale. Their plight during the 12-game losing streak has been a struggle to get clutch hits with runners on base.
Ten ‘Cats were left stranded, including two in each of the first two innings and three in the fourth.
On this day, however, all they needed was one run, and it came quickly.
In the first frame, Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley) beat out an infield hit. She moved to second on a single by Coburn and scored on a line drive to right off the bat of Poovey.
The Lions tacked on two more in the second. With no outs, Wyatt, Abair and Hankins were hugging the bases after two walks and a single.
Maldonado rapped a bleeder through the left side to knock in Wyatt. After a fielder’s choice, Hankins tagged and scored on a sacrifice fly by Coburn.
The Lions threatened again in the fourth. A one-out single from Poovey had ‘Occupied’ signs hanging at each infield station. The rally ended on a pop-up to second and a fly to left.
SAGU added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) started things with a spinning wobbler over the third baseman’s head. The hook landed just inside the chalk, then bounced wildly to the left as the fleet-footed Krock alertly turned it into a rare infield double.
Coburn delivered her by also smashing a two-bagger to the fence in leftcenter.
After several recent late losses that left the Lions aching – both with injuries that left the team with barely enough players to field a line-up, and emotionally as foes edged them three times in their last at bat, SAGU was easily satisfied with a 4-0 shutout.
Maldonado and Poovey joined Coburn with two hits apiece.
Schedule: Final Four Games
The Lady Lions have four games left, starting with a three-game series in Austin this weekend. They will take on Huston-Tillotson University (1-31) on Friday, April 19, in a 7:00pm contest. The teams will play a noon doubleheader on Saturday.
Northwood University (16-14) visits for a single game on Tuesday, April 23. The first pitch is slated for 4:00pm.