by Bennett Dewan
Collegian Sports Editor
The 2010 Cameron Softball team’s season has come down to a final two-game home stand. With four year Senior Ashton McBride on the mound the Aggies playoff fates rely on a sweep in Lawton against ECU. The teams split their first meeting this week 1-1 in Ada.
First Inning: The Aggies are in the field to open the game. McBride starts out throwing nothing but fastballs. The first hitter goes down weekly to the second baseman. he second batter lines a hard shot at first baseman Callie Schlatter, who makes a tough reactionary snag. The third batter dribbles one down the line. Schlatter scoops it up and steps on the bag for the final out. Three up and three down with little danger from the ECU Tigers.
The Aggies Go down in order with the most significant action coming from an attempted bunt by Schlatter. The ECU starting pitcher has a unique delivery that appears to be giving the Aggies a little trouble discerning the pitches from the plate.
Second Inning: McBride gives up her first walk of the game right away and ECU has a runner on first. The Aggies do not have to worry about the runner on first taking an extra base as she is a power hitter. It may have been wise of McBride to avoid her home run capability. The runner advances to second on a fly ball that is caught. McBride settles down and shuts down the next two runners with consecutive pop-ups.
Freshman Amanda Karth gets on base as the first Aggie up. McBride is up with a runner on. McBride tags a ball deep to left that is off the glove of the fielder. The ball rolls to the wall as Karth scores all the way from first. McBride does a little damage to help her own cause. McBride is a pitcher who can do it all. The Aggies are unable to score again and go out quietly.
Third Inning: McBride has really hit her stride from the rubber as she records her first strikeout on a breaking ball that made the ECU batter swing at nothing. The next two batters went down without a fight. McBride needs to keep up her control over the course of the game and not leave an off-speed pitch hanging in the zone as she tires. If she keeps up this performance this game is in the bag.
Third Baseman and Freshman phenom Drew Wright is up for the second time. She takes a big cut at the first pitch. She is swinging for the fences. She connects with the next pitch and drives it into deep left-center field. It is out of the park as Wright scores the second run of the game on a solo home run. Schlatter drives the first pitch into right field and narrowly misses a second home run in a row for the Aggies. The ball bounces off the fence back into play and Schlatter end up at second with a stand up double. The Aggies cannot capitalize on the runner in scoring position and end the inning on two straight ground balls.
Fourth Inning: The Tigers open the inning with a pair of walks and drive in a run on a fly ball where the fielder could not make the play at the plat in time. The Aggies load the bases and then a hit batter puts in the second run of the inning. McBride is being taken deep into the count and is giving up walks. Her pitch count is very high for this early in the game, but she was able to rally against the final batter and force a groundout.
McBride leads off as the Aggies try and pick up the lead again as the score is tied 2-2. She pulls the first pitch foul as coach Beth Watson has to dive out of the way. Full count as she fouls off three straight pitches. She goes down on a curveball and grimaces. She appears to have injured her right arm on that swing. Hopefully she can continue to throw for the Aggies. The next batter lines one straight to the pitcher for the second out. Jessica Orr is up and she tags the 3-2 pitch into shallow left for a single. Two outs for Drew Wright, the hero of the third inning. Wright takes a couple of pitches in the dirt before she hits a hard liner to left. Orr scores and Wright is in to second with a head first slide a la Pete Rose. Schlatter comes up and immediately tags a shot past the shortstop and Wright comes around from second. The Aggies dribble a slow roller to the second baseman and the inning is over. The Aggies now lead 4-2.
Fifth Inning: The first batter lines a shot towards Meca Chambers who dives for it but cannot come up with it. A runner on first base with no outs. The next hitter hits a sharp grounder to Orr at shortstop who flips the ball to Chambers at second and on to Schlatter at first. What a tremendous double play to get the Aggies out of trouble. CU gets out of the inning as the last batter fails to reach base.
Cameron cannot buy a baserunner in the fifth as they go down to a strikout and consecutive pop outs. The game remains 4-2 Cameron, but there seems to be some momentum on the side of ECU.
Sixth Inning: McBride, after putting up a pretty dominant game early on, has lost a little velocity on her fastball. The Tigers put three straight batters on base scoring one. The game is now 4-3, but ECU has loaded the bases. Coach Watson, knowing that the Aggies season is on the line, calls in Carrie Harvey to pitch in relief. Bases loaded with no outs. With two strikes, Harvey blows a high fastball by a batter for the first out. Harvery is really on her game. A slow roller back to Harvey off of the first pitch and she gets the forceout at home plate to save the run. Harvey throws another epic set of fastballs by the Tigers’ no. 20 and she gets out of the inning stranding all three ECU runners on base. Watson made a great pitching change as Harvey came in throwing heat with little warmup.
McBride gets on after being hit in the hand by ECU’s pitcher. The Tigers’ coach comes out to argue the call, but it seems obvious by McBride’s actions that she was hit by that pitch. As McBride shakes out her hand at first, the pitch is thrown. Sherry Tetrault lays down a bunt that puts McBride into scoring position. Tetrault was thrown out at first. Jessica Orr lines it in betweeen second and third and advances to second after a throwing error by ECU. McBride scores off of the Orr single. extending the lead to 5-3. Drew Wright draws a walk, putting two one for senior Callie Schlatter. SChallater singles up the middle past the pitcher, scoring Orr and extending the Aggies lead to three 6-3. Martini continues the Aggies scoring spree in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single, bringing home Drew Wright. Tigers get out of the inning on a tag-out double play. Aggies score three, pushing it to a 7-4 game.
Seventh Inning: Carrie Harvey strikes out her first batter on a low inside pitch. Facing the second batter, Harvey gets the batter to pop out to right center, giving the Aggies two out. Harvey strikes out the third batter in three pitches. There is no need for a second half of the inning as the home team is already in the lead. The Aggies win the first game 7-3, setting up a intriguing storyline for game two.
The winner of the second game will make the post season as it is do-or-die time for both the Aggies and the Tigers. Carrie Harvey is starting for the Aggies. She threw three innings of relief in the Aggies 7-3 victory earlier in the afternoon. Coach Watson is counting on Harvey’s conditioning to pull her through the three innings of relief and now the start in the second game.
The first inning goes by with both teams going down in order. Harvey shows little sign of fatigue as she wore through the top of the Tiger order while keeping her pitch count low. It looks like it may be a bit of a a pitchers duel this afternoon.
The second inning opens with a completely different feel as the first two batters get on base for the Tigers of East Central University. A deep fly ball brings in one run and an errant throw by center fielder Leslie Martini brings in a second and just like that the Tigers are up by two. Harvey, able to settle down, puts away three straight Tigers to get out of the inning but not before ECU did some damage. The bottom half of the inning opens with Meca Chambers being hit on the lead hand with the pitch. She drags her dead arm down to first base with a half smile, half grimace on her face. Catcher Micah Lierly is up next. Lierly is promptly hit in the leg with the second pitch. Things appear to be getting personal as the last two batters have been pitched inside and have been drilled by fastballs. With two on base, the Aggies have a good chance to do some damage. Three straight Aggies go down without threatening and CU strands two runners. That may prove to be costly.
In the third inning Harvey started out strong, but gave up a deep drive down the right field line that barely cleared the fence. A solo home run puts the Aggies down 3-0. CU, once again goes down without threatening and are beginning to look a little desperate at the plate. They are no longer going deep into their counts and are swinging at questionable pitches.
In the fourth Harvey and ECU’s starting pitcher Randee Crockett shut down the opposing team’s lineups. Maybe this will turn out to be the pitching duel the first inning made this appear.
Harvey once again shut down the Tigers in the fifth. To lead off the bottom of the fifth for the Aggies Jessica Orr popped out to the first baseman. Following Orr, third baseman Drew Wright hit a solo home run on the first pitch, giving the Aggies their first run in the game. Lesli Martini battled with the pitcher, fouling off the first three pitches. She eventually flies out in foul territory.
The top of the sixth, with CU in the field, Harvey starts the inning getting the batter to fly out to center. Next batter, Harvey gets the hitter to ground it to Drew Wright, who makes the throw to Callie Schlatter. Harvey then walks her next batter but redeems herself by striking out the final batter of the inning.
In the second half of the sixth Amanda Karth leads off the Aggies. She draws a ball on her first pitch, fouls off six consecutive pitches, then flies out to the right fielder. Meca Chambers heads to the plate and gets hit in the elbow by the pitch, that is the second time this game. Micah Lierly fouls off a near home run to left in her at bat. Lierly sends the next pitch deep to left field for a two-run shot, but she’s called out because she reversed directions thinking the left fielder caught the ball. The crowd is stunned as the tying two run home run is nullified by a little known rule. Chambers is advanced to second on the called dead ball. Ashton McBride flies out to the left fielder to get out of the sixth.
The seventh inning opens and the Aggies are still visibly reeling from the home run that wasn’t. The Tigers still lead the game 3-1 in the final inning of play. The playoff hopes of both teams have come down to one inning. Harvey’s first few pitches are noticeable slower than the previous few innings. The Tigers batters leap on the Aggies, peppering the team with hard hit line drives. scoring two early in the inning. A fly ball finds the fence and Leslie Martini struggles to get a hol of it as two more runs score. The game is now 7-1 and the season is hangs in the balance. Harvey muscles through the last few outs, but the damage had already been done.
The bottom of the seventh begins as Cheryl Raesz’s double to left to put a runner on for the Aggies. Jessica Orr flies out to left. Drew Wright follows up by flying out to center. Callie Schlatter flies out to let field. After a leadoff double, the Aggies go in order and the season is over.
There is no cheering in Lawton as the mighty Aggies are out of the playoffs. After a key game one victory, CU falls to the Tigers 7-1 and now ECU is headed to the LSC tournament. This game definately hinged on the bizaar play in the sixth inning where in one foul swoop the Aggies went from comeback momentum to dejected underdogs. That wraps up the 2010 campaign for CU, who ends the season with a record of 22-26 while going 9-13 in the Lone Star Conference.