Blues Softball lose 2 of 3 in Oklahoma

The Vanessa Becerra era is now underway as the Washburn Lady Blues softball team visited Durant, Okla., for the Southeastern Oklahoma State Tournament. First game jitters were apparent as the Blues struggled to score in their first game against Texas Permian Basin.

“I think the girls were really nervous,” said Vanessa Becerra, head softball coach. “There was some jitters.”

The Lady Blues were only able to score one run against the Falcons of Texas Permian Basin, falling 5-1. Senior Lindsey Moore started in the circle for Washburn, going all six innings for the Blues. Moore allowed five earned runs on 13 hits.

“I think she did okay, but she did make a lot of mistakes,” said Becerra. “I think she did good overall but we didn’t get enough run support. I’m okay with giving up five runs by our pitchers because we should be able to score more than that.”

Moore struggled to hit her spots and the Falcons made her pay. But the lack of hitting by the Lady Blues ultimately was the difference.

The Blues only scored one run off Texas Permian Basin pitcher Desiree Valero. Valero went the distance for the Falcons, only allowing three hits and striking out five. Texas Permian Basin came into the game with nine games under their belt.

“What hurt us was the fact that most of the teams already played some games,” said Becerra. “It was our first game and we were nervous.”

Junior first baseman Alex Zordel led the team with hits, finishing 2-for-3 against Valero and the Falcon defense. Washburn got its only run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Paige Hightower that drove in senior Britny Cushing.

The Blues overcame the loss and their first game jitters, pounding out 10 runs in their second game against Northeastern State. Washburn won 10-4 behind 12 hits.

“We told the girls we need to get better after every game. It was nice to them break through their shell. Our hitters hit they were suppose to,” said Becerra.

In the second inning, freshman Kristen Bell belted a two run home run, giving Washburn a 2-0 lead. The next inning  Moore, who moved to right field against the Riverhawks, smacked in three more runs on her first homer of the season. The Blues added three more runs in the sixth inning and another run in the seventh. Freshman Kayla Oldham replaced Moore in the circle, picking up her first win of the season. Oldham pitched a solid seven innings, only giving up two earned runs on eight hits. She posted six Riverhawks strikeouts.

    “Kayla had an amazing games. She found the umpires zone. She was so consistent and our defense did a great job backing her up,” said Becerra.

    The Blues went into their third game of the day with some momentum after defeating Northeasern State. The Lady Blues squared off with the tournament host Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

    Southeastern got on the board first scoring one run off of freshman Cori Munoz. Washburn would get on the scoreboard by taking advantage of two Savage Storm errors in the third inning. Sophomore second baseman Katie Schroeder hit an RBI double scoring senior Kacy Covert. Schroeder crossed the plate herself on an illegal pitch and Moore added the third run of the inning after being walked. Southeastern scored one run in the fourth and fifth innings to tie up the game. The Blues regained the lead in the sixth inning as Cushing drew a base loaded walk.

The Savage Storm went through three pitchers in the game surrendering five walks while striking out the Lady Blues five times. Washburn gave up a run in the sixth inning bringing the game back into a tie.

    After both teams failed to score in the seventh inning, the game went into extra innings. Oldham who came in for Munoz in the sixth inning suffered her first loss of the season as the Savage Storm scored an unearned one off of a Washburn error. Washburn dropped to 1-2 on the season. The remaining two days of tournament play were cancelled due to heavy rain.

“From the first game to the second and third it was night and day. It was a completely different team,” said Becerra.

Zordel lead the Lady Blues in batting average hitting .500 over the weekend on five hits.

“Alex is a great hitter. I expect that from her,” said Becerra.

Despite coming away under .500 Becerra saw a lot of good things from her team.

“We were upset the rest of the games got cancelled. We wanted to get some games in. But it’s refreshing to have a list of things to work on,” said Becerra.

    Becerra wants to improve on defensive fundamentals and base running. The Lady Blues have little time to reflect on the past weekend’s games as they return to action February 24th in Denton, Texas for the Texas Woman’s University Tournament.