OKLAHOMA CITY (May 8, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s softball team quickly put to rest any concerns about perhaps being rusty after a 12-day layoff with two impressive hitting displays on Thursday.
The Lady Eagles seized control of the National Christian College Athletic Association Central Region tournament with a record-setting 23-0 romp over Hillsdale Baptist, followed by a 10-2 run-rule win over local rival Mid-America Christian.
Second-seeded OC (37-14) will face fourth-seeded Colorado Christian in the winners’ bracket finale on Friday at 4 p.m. Colorado Christian (21-26) also recorded two wins Thursday, including an 8-3 decision over top-seeded Central Baptist (Ark.).
The Lady Eagles have won nine straight games and now are 24-4 at Tom Heath Field this season. They’ll send out ace Shea Coats against Colorado Christian.
“We’re in good shape right now, real good shape,” OC coach Tom Heath said. “I like our chances. I like the way we’re playing ball. We’re doing it both offensively and defensively … and our pitching has been very good.”
On a day filled with OC hitting stars, Kendra Pierce and Martha Thomas shone the brightest, as both finished with eight RBIs. In the opener, Thomas hit two home runs – her 11th and 12th of the season – and had six RBIs, while Pierce went 8-for-9 in the two games with four RBIs in each.
“Kendra and Moose (Thomas) have been doing that all year,” Heath said. “They’re two outstanding hitters and they came through today.”
Against Hillsdale Baptist (6-31), OC scored at least three runs in all four of its at-bats, topped by a 13-run second-inning outburst. The Lady Eagles sent 19 batters to the plate during the inning, with Pierce, Thomas, Danielle Collins and Monique Elliott each recording two of the team’s 12 hits.
Thomas had a three-run homer, which followed a two-run shot in the first inning off Hillsdale Baptist starter Kayla Bradley (5-14).
In the fourth, freshman Jordan Chism hit her first career home run, a two-run blast just inside the left-field foul pole. OC’s 23 runs snapped the previous school single-game scoring record of 20, set during a 20-0 win over Southwestern Oklahoma State in 1998.
Every OC player who batted had at least one basehit against the Saints.
Taylor Mosher (10-6) threw a complete-game two-hitter against the Saints. Freshman Haley Squier (4-5) did the same for OC against MACU, overcoming a shaky start to toss a four-hitter.
“Taylor Mosher in the first game did a great job and I was very proud of Haley Squier,” Heath said. “She’s a freshman and she came in in a game we really needed to win and she gave us a really good outing.”
MACU (33-29) combined two walks with three singles in the first, and RBI basehits by Jackie Hilterbran and Tiffany Holt gave the Lady Evangels a 2-0 lead.
OC answered with four runs in the bottom of the first off MACU starter Amber Tinney (16-13), with Thomas leading the charge with a two-run double. The Lady Eagles built on that lead with four more runs in the fourth, with Pierce and Collins hitting two-run singles.
OC finished off the game with a two-run fifth. Lauren Pittman doubled and scored on a single by Kala Ratliff, and Ratliff eventually scored on a single by Pierce to end the game by the run rule. The Lady Eagles finished with 11 hits as a team after recording 23 in the opener.
“We did an outstanding job hitting the ball today,” Heath said. “Some of the kids just had career days. We swung the bats up and down the lineup and I was proud of that. I’m glad we scored some runs and let our pitchers have a little break from stress.”
In other games Thursday, MACU rolled past Crowley’s Ridge (Ark.) 9-0 in five innings and Colorado Christian did the same to Ecclesia (Ark.), winning 10-2.
Crowley’s Ridge and Hillsdale Baptist will play an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by an elimination game between MACU and Ecclesia at noon. Central Baptist (35-9) will play the Crowley’s Ridge-Hillsdale Baptist winner at 2 p.m., followed by the OC-Colorado Christian game. At 6 p.m., the MACU-Ecclesia winner will play the winner of the 2 p.m. game.