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Lady Lions show resolve in fourth game with late lead

Johnson, Coburn, Maldonado deliver clutch performances

SAGU plays local doubleheader on Tuesday night in Fort Worth

SAC Standingshttp://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/7.php

maldonado-throws-shortPhoto Gallery800+ photos available (link below)

Box Scores, Play-by-Play  (access below)

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  After three forgettable games against No. 15 Oklahoma Baptist University, the fourth game nearly provided a dramatic upset by Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

OBU rolled to three methodical wins on Friday night and on a sunny Saturday afternoon, cruising 11-1, 15-0 and 11-0. Each was shortened to five innings thanks to the eight-run mercy rule.

The Bison, now 8-5 overall and 4-1 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, breezed through the first three games. They outscored SAGU 36-1 by outhitting the Lady Lions by a combined 38-7. OBU looked every bit the part of a nationally ranked team.

Still building their new softball program, SAGU (5-13 / 0-4 in SAC) has reduced errors and has cut the number of walks they allowed in their first two seasons.

In the four-game series, played at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, they made just nine errors to four by the Bison. The Lady Lions pitching staff of four walked 12 and struck out 14. Considering the competition, those numbers deserve merit.

The final game proved to be a bit testy as SAGU took an early 1-0 lead and carried it into the fifth inning. Team Purple's resistance may not have been agreeable with the Bison. One player turned to needless physical play, though it may have sparked her team's winning rally.

Brittney Johnson (Tahlequah, Ok / Tahlequah HS ) opened the game with a liner to rightfield for a single. She advanced to second on a Hannah Lee (Hardinsburg, Ky / Breckinridge HS ) sacrifice bunt to the OBU first baseman.

That brought Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS ) to the dish. The sophomore third-bagger powered SAGU a year ago with a .427 batting average, three homers and 32 RBI. She drove a pitch to deep left center, almost clearing the fence.

She trotted into second with a stand-up double to easily score Johnson.

Coburn moved to third when Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, Cal / Victor Valley HS ) grounded to first. She was stranded there when Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian HS ) went down swinging.

The Lady Lions collected five hits in the game, but only once did they manage to get a baserunner as far as second the rest of the way.

Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS ) began the next inning with a single to center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Haley Shingleton (Deer Park, Tx / Deer Park HS ). Amber Gignac (Houston, Tx) ended the threat when she took a called third strike from McKenzie Jones.

Meanwhile, Maldonado was taming the Green Machine. The sophomore righty allowed a hit in each of the first three innings, but no runs.

She retired the side in the fourth. The slimmest of leads, 1-0, was somehow holding up.

Two times in the game Dara Gray, the OBU first baseman, applied rough tags to SAGU baserunners, Maldonado and Johnson, on their way to first.

A stiffarm nearly floored Maldonado. Then she stepped in front of Johnson in a collision to prevent the latter from accessing the base.

Afterwards Johnson said the stand-up block that knocked her backwards was funny. “I was running fast and just bounced off of her. But I did get her the next time.”

Johnson is the Lady Lions pitching ace. She has been idled due to an injury and hasn’t taken the circle in weeks.

Head Coach Tim Grant called on her in the fifth when OBU bats started warming up. She tossed the final two and one-third innings, walking two, giving up three hits and three runs.

Johnson did, however, strike out five Bison, including Gray.

In the top of the fifth, OBU’s Hannah Morris, hitting only .167, crushed a Maldonado offering to deep left-center for a one out double.

Sammy Leisinger followed with a frozen rope that was Coburn gloved at third for the second out. Maldonado would’ve escaped but a shallow pop-up off the bat of Amanda Harmon behind second base was dropped by the rightfielder.

The error allowed Morris to race home with the equalizer. Shalee Cordell then lined a double to right with Harmon scoring on an errant throw to the cutoff.

OBU had a 2-1 lead and Jones and Hannah Wilbur shutdown any thoughts of a comeback by the Lady Lions.

Over their final three innings they were limited to an infield single by Johnson. Not a single ball was hit out of the infield over the final four innings.

The Bison tacked on three more runs to build a cushion in the sixth. A walk and a soft single to right brought Amanda Ward to bat.

Getting her first start of the season at second base, she jumped on a 3-2 pitch and lifted it to right, barely clearing the four-foot barrier. The three-run dinger was her first hit of the season.

Hitting last in the SAC with a .240 team average, the Lady Lions managed five hits in the fourth game.

During the four-game series they had a dozen, and eight of them came from two batters; Johnson and Coburn.

Johnson went 6-for-11 and scored both of the Pride’s runs while Coburn was 2-of-8. She accounted for both runs batted in. Her RBI double was Team Purple’s only extra-base hit in the series.

Lady Lion Player Notes

Johnson is the squad’s lone representative in the SAC’s Top 20 batters. The freshman totes a .446 bat and has scored a team-best 19 runs.

Coburn is beginning to heat up. The sophomore with the robust swing, has risen to .333 and is tied with Wyatt with 12 RBI.

Wyatt is next at .298 and leads the team with nine extra-base hits.
Lee and Johnson lead the pitching staff with two wins apiece. Three of the four hurlers have struck out more batters than they have walked.

For a complete list of player stats:  http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/IndividualStats.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&team=18708&sea=NAIWBA_2014

To date, the Lady Lions pitching staff has allowed opponents to hit .346 against them. Last year they yielded a .355 average to foes while the inaugural team permitted a .435 BA to the opposition.

The team still lacks swat at the plate.

In the first season the players collaborated to hit only .197 as a unit. That figure rose to .312 a year ago. It has drooped to .240 so far this spring.

The next twelve games for the Purple Pride will be on the road.

SAGU returns to action on Tuesday evening when they play at Texas Wesleyan University in Ft. Worth. The twi-light doubleheader begins at 5:00pm.

The weather forecast is partly sunny with a high of 50. Expect chilly conditions.

The games will be played at Sycamore Park. It is located on Rosedale Avenue, just east of Highway 287, less than a mile from the TWU campus. It is a 45-minute drive from Waxahachie.

SAGU will be in Shawnee, Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday (where the SAC basketball tournament is being played) for a faceoff against No. 19 ranked St. Gregory’s University.

The teams are set to play a pair of twinbills each day; 1:00pm on Friday and at 2:00pm on Saturday.

The Lady Lions next home date will be on Tuesday, March 25, when Northwood University visits. By then SAGU will have played 30 games, just six of them at home.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at mwarde@sagu.edu or at 469-658-2847.

Photo Gallery of Saturday’s Games:   movingpictures.photoreflect.com/
There are 255 from the first game and 575 of the second.

Box Score and Play-by-Play:   http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamSchedule.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&conference=NAIWBA1_SAC&division=NAIWBA1&team=18708

Click on the underlined score to view the box score. Click on the split blue box (icon) on the right for stats and the play-by-play account of the game.
 

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