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Softball team challenges Big 12 opponent

Friday, October 5, 2007  
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By Tracy Washam

Based on their performance against Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Christian University softball team will have high expectations going into their spring softball season.

“Scrimmaging a Division I team, and playing as well as we did against them really helps our confidence going into our regular season in spring,” senior third baseman Rachel Smith said.

The Lady Eagles played two six inning scrimmages, tying the first game 2-2, and losing the second game to the cowgirls 2-6.

“Our girls performed very well,” head softball coach Tom Heath said. “Going up against a Big 12 team isn’t an easy thing to do, but we hung right there with them.”

The Lady Eagles played the first game with intensity and even had a 2-0 lead going into the fourth inning. Junior pitcher Linzi Farris started for the Lady Eagles and pitched a total of six innings allowing only two earned runs and five hits. Sophomore Sophia Johnson and freshman Natalie Pyle split the final six innings.

“It was such a fun game to play in,” Farris said. “It was a real confidence booster to see that we could play right there with the best of them.”

The Lady Eagles expect great things for the spring. They feel they have talent returning, and several new players playing major roles as well as more diversity in their line up.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming season,” Heath said. “We have a lot of talent and experienced players on this team as well as a lot of depth pitching wise, which was the problem for us last year.

“We also have a lot more speed in our line up. We relied mainly on power hitters in the years past, but now, we’ve got some kids that can lay down a bunt or slap and beat it out to get on.”

Last year, the Lady Eagles had a rough season with a 21-29 record.

“We have been doing some things differently this year,” Smith said. “We are working with a trainer this year and really focusing on getting in top physical condition so we can play with more endurance when spring rolls around.”

The Lady Eagles have been working with Jack Pugh, a trainer out of Bethany, Okla. The team has been working out two days a week at 6 a.m. as well as practicing four days a week.

“Conditioning is tough but we know it is going to pay off during season,” sophomore outfielder Christin Dobbs said.

The Lady Eagles have high expectations for this season as well. They hope to win the Sooner Athletic Conference as well as get to the regional tournament.

“We would really like to get to regionals this year,” said. “In the years past, we have always just come up one or two games short, but I think this year we definitely have what it’s going to take to get there.”

The Lady Eagles have some tough competition this season including last year’s NAIA National Champions, Oklahoma City University. The Lady Eagles will also take on Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

“We have some very good competition right here in our own conference, but we aren’t really going to worry about anyone,” Heath said. “We are going to take it one game at a time and concentrate on things we can control like practicing hard and being mentally ready for every game.”

The Lady Eagle’s season opener will be Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Mid-America Christian University.

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