By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)
The Oklahoma Baptist women’s softball team wrapped up the 2018 season by traveling to Arkadelphia, Ark. to face off against Great American Conference foe Ouachita Baptist University the last weekend of April. The Lady Bison entered the weekend with the hope of earning a playoff berth; they needed to win three out of the four games.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” senior shortstop Katie Reyes said. “The team really wanted to leave everything that we had out on the field.”
Unfortunately, the Lady Bison struggled offensively and were defeated in all four of the contests. In the first two games on Friday, the Lady Bison played solid defensively, holding their opponent to one run, but couldn’t get on the scoresheet.
“We came out focused and locked in on every play,” sophomore second baseman Shelby Savage said. “Offensively, we just couldn’t drive in runners.”
In the first contest, the Bison had five hits to Ouachita’s six; however, they were all singles by five different players, and no one was driven in for any runs. Ouachita didn’t get on the board until there were two outs in the sixth inning.
“Katie [Long] pitched a great game,” Savage said. “She was doing everything she needed to do. It was an unlucky loss.”
In the second game of the back-to-back, it was a similar storyline. The Lady Bison posted solid defense through five innings to stay in the game, but had a minor hiccup in the sixth inning that would cost them the game.
OBU struggled again to get any offense going, getting four hits to Ouachita’s five. Junior Bry Flanagan was responsible for two of the four, but no runs could be brought in. The final for both games one and two was 1-0 in Ouachita Baptist’s favor.
“I’m really proud of how the team dug in and gave ourselves a chance to win both games,” Savage said. “The team definitely has a lot to be proud of.”
After losing back-to-back games on Friday, OBU were officially out of playoff contention heading into Saturday.
“As a senior, I knew [they were] going to be my last games as a Bison,” Reyes said. “I approached the last games with all I had left.”
In game three, Ouachita came out red-hot, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but OBU was able to respond with a run of their own in the top of the second inning after Flanagan smashed a solo homerun to left field.
Ouachita turned around and answered with another run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 4-1.
Later, in the top of the fourth inning, OBU scored another run after junior Aspen Grimes drove in sophomore Cheyenne Demaree with a single to left center-field.
This brought the score to 4-2. Once again, Ouachita came right back at OBU with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning to stretch out their lead, 6-2. The Lady Bison would be unable to overcome the deficit.
“Ouachita is a very dangerous team if you let them get things going,” Savage said. “They didn’t leave anyone on base. They did a good job of driving people in.”
In the final game of the series, OBU were the first on the scoreboard. Savage was driven in off a single from Flanagan, giving OBU a 1-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
Ouachita responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning to overcome OBU’s one run and get out to a 5-1 lead.
Looking to spark a comeback, Savage came out with a solo homerun in the top of the third, bringing OBU within three runs of the opponent.
Ultimately, Ouachita tightened things up from then on defensively and held OBU scoreless through the last four innings.
They were also able to add another run in the sixth, sealing a 6-2 win. This brought the Lady Bison’s season to an end.
“It was a tough way to see our season end,” Savage said. “But, it doesn’t take away from all the things we accomplished this season.”
For the seniors, it was the last game in a Lady Bison uniform.
“I tried my best to leave a positive legacy on this team all year long,” Reyes said. “I tried to focus more on being a better team player, who was there for her teammates and helped others whenever they needed someone. I hope my legacy lives on.”
With this season in the books, all eyes are on the future of Lady Bison softball.
“I know this team has so much potential for the future,” Reyes said. “We have so many talented individuals and are lethal when we put everything together.”
The Lady Bison ended the season with an overall record of 16-31 and a GAC record of 13-26.