OCU Softball Drops Two to Asbury

The OCU softball team traveled to Wilmore, KY this past weekend to open their 2010 season against the Eagles of Asbury University. In the first game of the Saturday afternoon double header the Eagles defeated OCU 25-0. In the second game, OCU fell 17-0.

"Asbury is a fine program. They have some good athletes. They're well coached. They are just a good team," said second year head coach Emory Clark. "Coach (Larry) McCullough and his team were great hosts, and showed a lot of sportsmanship and character. The scores could have been a lot worse, but they understand where we are as a program and they didn't take advantage of it. I appreciate that."

Offensvively, the Trailblazers struggled against the Eagle's dominant pitching staff. The Eagles pitching staff held the Trailblazers to a single base runner, by way of a base on balls to freshman catcher Katie Clark, in game one and gave up only two hits in game two. Junior shortstop Jaia Reidling picked up the Trailblazer's first base hit and the first two stolen bases of the year in the first inning of game 2. Freshman first baseman Crystal Thorne added the second base hit and third stolen base for the Trailblazers in the fourth inning of the game.

Defensively, freshman pitcher Stacy Moody faced 83 batters in 8 innings of work on the weekend. She gave up 18 bases on balls and one hit batter while getting the first four strikeouts of her college career. Unfortunately, the Eagles were able to tag her for four homeruns, two of which were grand slams that came as part of a 15 run first inning in game one. "Stacy came in and had to fight through the first game jitters. The first inning of game one was really rough, though it wasn't all Stacy's fault. She had to face 21 batters in the first inning. After that, she seemed to settle down a little more," said Coach Clark. "She knows she has some work to do, but she has the drive and desire to pitch well. She'll come in and do the work, and I think we'll see a good bit of improvement this weekend against Southern State."

The Trailblazers committed only four errors in the two games. "The defense didn't play too bad. You could tell it was our first games. You could tell we have a long way to go this season. But, Asbury is a good ball team. They hit the ball well. They were able to get runners on base, and they were able to drive the ball into the gaps a lot." Sophomore catcher Katie Clark received several positive comments from the Asbury coaches for her work behind the plate. Moody and freshman third baseman, Elizabeth Smith both posted 1000 fielding percentages. Freshman first baseman Crystal Thorne posted a 909, freshman second baseman Staci Russell posted an 800, and junior shortstop Jaia Reidling, despite two errors, finished with a 675 fielding percentage. "We have some work to do this week. We play at Southern State this coming Saturday. Asbury comes to us on Saturday, March 27th. That will give us a good idea of how much we improve over the next two weeks," said Coach Clark.

 "This was a learning weekend for us. In the NCCAA softball is a uni-division sport. There is not a separation between Division I and Division II programs. This weekend gave us a good opportunity to see where we need to be. If we want to be able to compete for regional titles and earn the opportunity to play at the national level we have to be able to compete against teams like Asbury," added Coach Clark.

"The scoreboard may not have shown it, but there were some very positive things that came out of this weekend," said Coach Clark. "There were several positive comments about our team's character and the way we stayed together as a team, even in such lop-sided games. I felt like as a team, and more importantly as Christians, we represented ourselves, our school, and Jesus Christ well this weekend. That's a win for us."