Aggies Take the Lead in Opening Weekend
On Feb. 4, the Cameron softball team ended their opening weekend with two close victories against the Washburn Ichabods, 4-2, and the Missouri Southern State Lions, 4-3.
After the opening weekend, the Aggies now sit at 4-2 overall on the season and have gotten off to a strong start by winning four in a row.
The victory against the Ichabods went beyond regulation, requiring one extra inning to be played.
Aggie sophomore Bethany Hines pitched a complete game against the Ichabods and only gave up a single earned run on four hits; she also finished with seven total strikeouts.
Cameron’s softball head coach Dennis Furr said that Hines brings a lot to the table.
“Bethany is just a sophomore, and we’re starting to really see her potential,” he said. “She played really well during the weekend, and we know we can count on her. She’s a talented young lady with a knack for getting people to miss.”
Other notables for the Aggies included sophomore shortstop Brenna Busby, who landed two hits and scored a run; and senior second baseman Lauren Mason, who also scored a single run along with an RBI.
As a team, the Aggies struck out eight total times throughout the game.
The first six innings against the Ichabods revolved entirely around defense, with only one run scored in the bottom of the third inning by Washburn. However, the Aggies eventually scored their first run when the pressure began to mount in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore outfielder Kaylyn Smith, who started the batting order, managed to get a walk at bat and then proceeded to steal second base.
Furr said things started out slow in the game, but the team figured out how to handle the situation.
“We had a rocky start to the weekend and to this game,” he said, “but by the time the mid-point came around, we had gotten our feet wet and were picking up the pace.”
With the tension mounting after two outs, Smith stole third base while the pick-off attempt flew into the outfield. Smith, scoring from third base, Smith tied the game and sent them into extra innings.
In the top of the extra eighth inning, the Aggies scored three runs to go up 4-1. Mason drove in Hines on a single, while sophomore catcher Callie Busby reached on an error to score in her sister, Brenna Busby. Freshman Madyson Marvulli finished the ending with an RBI groundout to score Mason.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Ichabods drove in a run thanks to an error, but Hines managed to strike out the final batter for the win.
Furr said that the team is young and nervous, but that isn’t a bad thing.
“We had some jitters and kinks to work out,” he said, “but our ability to bounce back and finish strong shows what we’re capable of as a team.”
The second game of the day versus the Lions again focused on strong pitching and good field play. The start of the game, however, looked to be the complete opposite.
Cameron leaped to a quick 3-0 lead after a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning and one more in the bottom of the second. In the first, C. Busby gave a sacrifice fly ball for a run, while junior utilityplayer Abbey Warren singled a grounder to score another. In the second, Freshman outfielder Makaylah Ramirez drove in her first career homerun.
Furr said that Ramirez will be a great player in the future.
“She’s really talented and young,” he said. “Makaylah didn’t start out in the best form during the weekend, but she seemed to figure it out on the final day. As she picked it up, she showed some real toughness, and we all know she’ll be good for us in the future.”
The Lions quickly evened up the game in the fourth inning by scoring three runs, two of which were brought in by a homerun of their own.
Cameron rebounded with another score in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Warren struck for an error that ended up bringing in Callie Busby. Aggie junior pitcher Rylee Willmon pitched lights out in the final two innings to stop the Lions from mounting a comeback and securing the win for Cameron.
On Feb. 9-11 the Aggies will play at the St. Mary’s Invitational. There, they will face Fort Hays State, St. Edward’s, Regis, St. Mary’s and California-Pennsylvania.
Furr said that the team will be ready.
“We’re going to work on some of our hitting issues and try to work through this cold weather,” he said. “We need to build on what we’ve established, which is a young, talented team with lots of room to grow and lots of pieces to use. Versatility will be our best bet heading into that weekend.”