Strange ending costs softball Lions
Tie game is ruled a forfeit loss
SAGU splits doubleheader with Hillsdale
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A bizarre call stunned most everyone at the midway point in a scheduled seven inning softball game between Hillsdale College (Ok) and Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
The judgment made by an umpire affected much more than one play. It cost SAGU a ballgame that was tied 8-8 at the time.
The Lady Lions’ Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) was ejected from the game for running into Hillsdale’s third baseman, Ashely Scott, who had blocked her path to the base.
With no reserves to replace her, the decision proved expensive, as it caused the game to end promptly as a forfeit loss for SAGU.
By rule, teams cannot play with less than nine players.
Poovey must also sit out the next game, which is a 7:00pm contest in Austin against Huston-Tillotson University this Friday.
SAGU and HT are also scheduled to meet in a doubleheader on Saturday at noon. The Lady Rams are currently 1-31.
Due to several injuries of late, the second year Lady Lions team have had to play with limited numbers. One occurred over the weekend, leaving the Purple Pride "limping as a boned fish," as J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote.
While the statistics in the game still count, the forfeiture lists the game as a 7-0 loss, dropping the Lady Lions’ record to 12-21.
SAGU won the first game of the doubleheader by a 4-0 score.
After falling behind 6-2 in the second inning, the Lady Lions rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth.
Recalling the fateful fourth
Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) hit a frozen rope to right-center to lead off the inning. After moving up a base on a wild pitch, she darted to third on a passed ball on the catcher, Belle Garcia.
Poovey drew a walk, and then swiped second.
Trailing 8-7 with no outs, Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian) hit a high fly moderately deep to rightfield. Both Coburn and Poovey tagged and made their way to the next base, which, for Coburn, was home with the tying run.
As Poovey approached third, Scott stood on the inside corner of the bag. Poovey, with her arms crossing her chest to protect herself from the impending collision, rounded the base as the throw from rightfield went elsewhere.
The impact knocked Scott to the ground. There was no play at third as the throw from right went to the plate.
The base umpire then indicated that Poovey was ejected for what he called “malicious contact” with Scott, who had needlessly impeded her progress.
Poovey was not called out, but was 'out' of the game.
Head Coach Tim Grant approached the umpiring crew to question the call to expel Poovey. The result was not changed, though an appeal is being planned by the Athletic Department.
Coach Grant apologized to the fans for the game’s abrupt, premature ending, which neither team agreed with.
Hillsdale, located in Moore, Oklahoma, sought to finish a game in which they displayed some impressive hitting and fielding.
The Lady Saints overcame a 2-0 deficit with six runs in the top of the second. After the first two batters were retired by Shannen Nance (Enid, Ok / Hillsdale-Kremlin HS), the next nine batters reached base against Nance and reliever Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley).
A throwing error from third and a hit batsman preceded a dropped fly in center for two runs. An RBI double to left and a walk happened before a wild pitch and a 2-run double to right-center by Scott. Hillsdale led, 5-2, prompting a pitching change.
The ensuing batter smacked a run-producing single to left, before a walk and another hit batter loaded the bases. Maldonado put an end to the uprising when she gloved a hot shot up the middle. All six runs were unearned.
SAGU countered with four runs in their half of the inning to even the scoring scales at 6 apiece. Coach Grant then called for Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx / Frank Phillips College, Kennedale HS), who hurled a two-hit shutout in the opener.
A hit and a fielder’s choice were followed by an obstruction call against the Lady Lions infield, the second one of the game, both against SAGU. Shelbie Kirk then lined a single to left, with Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) throwing home to get the lead baserunner. The ball was bobbled, allowing a run to cross the plate.
Scott hit a line drive single to left for an 8-6 lead, before being thrown out after she was caught in a pickle (see photo on right); Nance throwing to Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) at first base.
The Lady Lions, who outhit the Saints 10-8 in the shortened game, collected a hit from eight of their nine players in the line-up.
Coburn and Poovey drove in Maldonado and Krock in the first for a quick lead. Nance ripped a liner to centerfield with two aboard, though it became a double play when one of the runners thought there were two outs.
A four-run second evened the score at six apiece.
Wyatt doubled to the fence in right-center. She raced to third when the relay was mishandled. Abair’s grounder to second knocked in Wyatt.
Hankins spanked a double to the wall, preceding a cue ball off the bat of Maldonado. She hit a flair over the pitcher that resembled a wounded duck, dropping to the water, ah, err, the ground near second base for a hit.
Krock laid down an RBI bunt and Coburn’s grounder to short resulted in another run. Poovey sliced a pitch that bounced less than a foot fair in right to score Krock with the equalizer.
After the Halos held a two-run margin in the third, SAGU tallied a run in their half of the stanza.
Nance went shopping at ‘Gap,’ pounding a leadoff double to the wall in leftcenter. Wyatt walked and Abair pushed the runners into scoring position with a one out sacrifice bunt.
A grounder to the shortstop by Hankins allowed Nance to score, and after a free pass was issued to Maldonado, a pop-up to second ended the inning.
Abair retired the side in the top of the fourth on a grounder to the circle, a foul pop that Hankins grabbed on the run, and a groundout to Maldonado at shortstop.
When the Lady Lions started the bottom of the fourth by getting the first two batters on base, the momentum of the game was shifting back to Team Purp.
The stage was set; tied at 8-8 with the lead run at third and one out in the fourth.
Then came the questionable call that left few answers.
Krock and Coburn both went 2-for-3, with the former scoring twice and the latter driving in two. Coburn had a 4-for-6 day with four runs batted in (RBI).
Poovey had a pair of ribbies and Maldonado scored two times. 'Maldo' led five othr players who were credited with a base hit, including Poovey, Huff, Nance, Wyatt and Hankins.
Scott led Hillsdale by going 3-for-3 with three runs batted in. SAGU pitchers held the bottom four batters without a hit.
The teams met four times earlier in the season with the Lions winning in three of them; 7-3, 12-2 and 9-4.
Post-Season still a possibility
The Lady Lions can still earn a post-season bid at the National Christian College Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) Central Regional tournament. It will be held on April 26-27 in Conway, Arkansas.
The host, Central Baptist College, is 21-9, and is ranked No. 5 in the NCCAA. Oklahoma Wesleyan University would be the likely No. 2 seed. There are eleven teams in the region.
Most teams in the NCCAA are from the NAIA as well as the NCAA's Division 2 and 3.
SAGU needs to win three more games to qualify, and could do so with a successful weekend in Austin.
Unlike a popular family/comedy TV show (early 1980's), "Eight is Enough," these 'Cats will need nine lives just to be able to play.