By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Varsity Lady Racer's Fast-pitch team lost their first head-to-head game of the 2014 season 0-8 on Monday at home against the Tuttle Tigers.
With E. Cerny on the mound pitching the entire game, the Lady Racers looked strong on the field, but a couple two-run innings and one four-run inning left the Lady Racers behind in the fifth inning 8-0 with a run-rule finish.
In the top of the first inning, Tuttle's first batter struck out by Cerny's pitches. The second Tiger up to bat scored a triple, which was followed up by an in the park homerun.
Unshaken by the two scored runs, Cerny struck another batter out to put an end to the Tigers early lead.
With the Racers up to bat in the bottom of the first, they didn't waste anytime getting on base. Crossley bunted her way on first but was forced out at second base when Vandiver bunted her way onto first. With two balls hit from Cerny and Workman to the outfield that were caught by Tigers, the Lady Racers ended the first inning 0-2.
In the second inning, Newcastle held off Tuttle but was unable to hit any runner home.
The third inning was when the Tigers pulled away. A single by the third Tiger batter hit two runners home and was followed by a stolen second base. A double and a single hit two more runners home before the Lady Racers were able to mount a defense, which obtained the final two outs via strikeout.
Bottom of the third, the Lady Racers' first three batters hit a good piece of the ball but were either caught or forced out at first base.
In the fourth inning the Tigers hit two more runners home. Trying to stage a comeback, Newcastle spent the next two innings smacking the ball, but the Tigers managed to hold off the assault, which left the Lady Racers run-ruled 0-8 at the end of the fifth inning.
With a storm blowing in, the junior varsity Fast Pitch game, set for immediately following the varsity game, was cancelled. The Lady Racers return to action Thursday against the Purcell Lady Dragons at 5:30 p.m. in Newcastle.
After a 3-1 start to the season including wins over Blanchard, Harding Charter and Putnam City, Lady Racers Head Coach Byron Mooney has to find a way to stop the slide.
The Lady Racers entered the Putnam North tournament 2-1 and started things off with a 18-3 clobbering of the Lady Lions on Mar. 13. After dropping a 12-0 loss to Westmoore later that day, Newcastle closed the day out with an 8-0 blanking of Norman North.
It was the next day that the Lady Racers started their slide.
“We played ten games in that first week, and I’ve got 12 girls out,” Mooney said. “We started out strong, but we got tired.”
This early in the season coming off of winter, much of his team is not in playing shape, Mooney said.
“We just have to put it out better,” the second-year coach said. “We need to come out of the break rested and not play ten games in a week, we’ll be okay.”
The schedule does not relent for Mooney in the following days. After Mar. 25 matchups with Little Axe and Bridge Creek, the Lady Racers turn around two days later for a road trip to Bethel. That is followed up Mar. 31 with games against Washington and Harrah.
Despite the early season slump, Mooney sees a marked improvement over his first year.
“We started much better this year,” Mooney said. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish for sure. We hope to put it together and have a better run.”
The Lady Racers next home game is Mar. 31 against Washington.
Senior Corbi Parasich signed her letter of intent to play softball for the Oklahoma Baptist University Lady Bison with (from right) mother Renee Pendergraft-Parasich, father John Parasich Jr., and OBU head coach Pam Fink on Monday, Feb. 10
OBU is a private four-year school located in Shawnee.
The Lady Bison play in the Sooner Athletic Conference of the NAIA.
Newcastle senior Stacia Bradford has signed her letter of intent to play softball for Northern Oklahoma College.
A transfer student from Garber, Bradford was a leader for the Lady Racers this season until injuries suffered in a car accident kept her from playing in regionals, Lady Racers head coach Mike Crossley said.
Despite the injury, Bradford was a 2013 All State selection.
Coached by 13-year veteran Karie Linsenmeyer, the Lady Mavericks compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Established in Tonkawa in 1901, NOC is a two-year community college with a total enrollment of about 2,700 students, with campuses in Tonkawa and Enid.
An issue for the team all year, the Newcastle Lady Racer bats came alive Monday night, as they routed the visiting McLoud Lady Redskins 8-0 in front of a vibrant home crowd at Racer Softball Field.
Newcastle (13-9) has been working to improve their fundemental offensive skills all season, and have begun a bit of a winning streak since going 1-3 in the Carl Albert Tournament.
The offensive work was on display as the Lady Racers exploded against fellow Class 4A opponent McLoud.
“We were up 5-0 going into the sixth, then we scored three more in the sixth,” Crossley said.
Sophomore pitcher Abby Sanner turned in another solid performance in the circle for the Lady Racers, whlle multiple players including junior Kobi Crossley, senior Addison White and senior Allison McGary registered two hits or more.
“Overall as a team, we played real well,” Crossley said. “We swung it much better, put the ball into play, had very few strikeouts, and that makes it tough on opponents. When you do things like that, you give yourself a chance to win.”
Newcastle’s schedule does not let up heading into the final weeks of the softball regular season. An upcoming home date with fifth-ranked Tecumseh, as well as tournament appearances against larger opponents such as Stillwater and Sand Springs means the Lady Racers will not be coasting by before the state tournament.
“Sometimes it is tough to tell when you’re playing the type of people we are, but [McLoud] was another 4A team, and you see what we did to them,” Crossley said. “Playing top notch teams ... it’s just like murderer’s row. It’s not for the meek at heart. You have to be tough to play our schedule, because a tough schedule makes a tough team.”
Newcastle is 7-1 against Class 4A opponents, and is 6-8 against teams in a higher class.
The Lady Racers next home game is Monday, Sept. 30, when Newcastle takes on seventh-ranked Bethel.
The Newcastle Lady Racers went in to the toughest part of their schedule hoping to test themselves.
They got what they wanted, as well as insight on what to work on going forward.
The Lady Racers went 1 for 4 at the Carl Albert tournament, held Sept. 13 and 14 in Midwest City. Despite defeating the Shawnee Lady Wolves, Newcastle fell to Moore, Chickasha and Carl Albert high schools.
“It’s an extremely tough tournament against some of the top teams in the state,” head coach Mike Crossley said. “They’re schools that are not in our class, that are larger than us, and just some of the top teams around.”
The difficult schedule is key for preparing the Lady Racers (12-9) for the rest of their district schedule and the playoffs, Crossley said.
Newcastle opened up the tournament with a 4-1 loss to the Chickasha Lady Chicks, followed by a 6-0 win over Shawnee. The Moore Lady Lions then smashed Newcastle 10-0, and the tournament ended with a 5-0 loss to the Carl Albert Lady Titans.
“Hits were hard to come by,” Crossley said. “I thought for the most part our two pitchers, Abby Sanner and Emily Cerney, threw really well.”
Cerney was credited with the win over Shawnee.
The Lady Racers lost a game from their schedule when a road game against Okarche was cancelled due to weather Monday, Sept. 16. Their next game will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at home against Okarche.
The Lady Racers suffered yet another setback early this season as they travelled to Tuttle, falling to the Lady Tigers 9-1 on Monday, Aug. 19.
The Lady Racers (3-3) have been playing against some of the best comeptition in the state, head coach Mike Crossley said, and that he preferred Newcastle’s tough schedule over an easier one that hides problems he needs to address.
“It was a good game to start, but Tuttle made nice plays on our girls,” Crossley said. “We’ve got to get better. We’re struggling a little bit right now with overall execution.”
The Lady Racers were plagued all night with difficulties at the plate when runners were in scoring position. The Lady Tigers, in the meantime, capitalized on multiple Racer errors in the sixth inning, scoring five runs.
Crossley recently earned his 800th career win against Chandler on Aug. 17, during the Tuttle Tournament.
Newcastle’s next game begins Friday, Aug. 23 with the start of the Hall of Fame Tournament, held at the American Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Racers’ home opener is Tuesday, Aug. 27 against the Bridge Creek Bobcats. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Newcastle Softball Field
Fresh off their return to the playoffs last year, the Newcastle Lady Racers fastpitch softball team have begun practices in anticipation of again returning to the ranks of the state’s elite.
The Lady Racers have only missed the playoffs four times in 25 years, last missing the playoffs two years ago, under head coach Mike Crossley. He intends for his 26th year to mark another trip to state.
“We were 31-11 and made the state tournament,” Crossley said. “We had an outstanding season.”
Much of Crossley’s roster spent the summer playing in OKC summer leagues, with four of Crossley’s players gone last week in national tournaments. This will prove to be an advantage, he said, as his team comes together and rebound from the loss of several talented seniors to graduation, including all-state pitcher Shelby Robinson.
“We had a good senior class last year,” he said. “They played a lot of ball, they were good leaders and very competitive. A great bunch to coach. You’re always looking for good leaders and build that leadership.”
The Newcastle Lady Racers picked up two victories on Saturday in the Harrah Tournament defeating Davenport and Roland.
In game two against Davenport Newcastle pinned a 6-5 loss on the Lady Bulldogs.
Shelby Bowman, Shelby Robinson and Allison McGary each had two hits.
“It was a slow going game but we finally got going midway through,” head coach Byron Mooney said.
Newcastle scored three runs in the third and three more in the fifth to take control of the game.
“We finally got our bats going and scored some runs,” Mooney said.
The Lady Racers shutdown the Lady Bulldogs over the final three innings to hold on for the win.
“We shut them down over the last stretch of the game with good defense to get the win,” Mooney said.
In game two NHS defeated the Lady Rangers of Roland, 5-2.
Kobi Crossley and Robinson wielded the big sticks for the Lady Racers each pounding out two hits in the victory.
“We had more girls contribute this game. We had been having trouble with the lower half of the lineup but we came through,” Mooney said.
“We had more hits, not as many runs, but we got girls on base and took advantage of opportunities we had.”
In game one the host Lady Panthers defeated Newcastle, 13-7.
Bowman led the way with a 3-3 performance at the dish.
Zandra Wilson, Robinson, McGary and Lauren Kelley each had hits for the Racers.
“It started slow and we were down 3-1 going into the fifth when we had one of those innings we’ve been having all season,” Mooney said.
Harrah exploded for nine runs in the fifth to take control.
“It was the same thing that’s been happening all season. We had one inning that snowballed on us and got us,” Mooney said.
But Newcastle didn’t give up, battling back to score four runs in the sixth.
“I was proud of the girls for battling back. We just ran out of time but I was proud of us for not getting our heads down and battling back,” Mooney said.
In the final game of the tournament Newcastle lost to Byng, 10-0.
“We got really tired in the game and we couldn’t get it done,” Mooney said.
Playing their fourth game of the day Newcastle had a scoring opportunity in the second inning trailing 1-0. The Lady racers had the bases loaded with one out and hit into an inning ending double play to kill their scoring chance.
“That dashed our hopes,” Mooney said.
“Again, it goes back to what’s been happening all season. We need to take advantage of the opportunities we are presented.
“Byng is a good club and they hit it all over the field.”
Newcastle played almost half as many games in one day during the Harrah Tournament as they have all season and Mooney said it was good to get some games in.
“We got better this weekend. We had only played nine games all season and we played four on Saturday. We needed to play and did some good things,” Mooney said.
Newcastle, 4-9, traveled to Harding Prep on Tuesday and will begin play in the Weatherford Tournament on Thursday
Newcastle Senior Shelby Bowman recently committed to play softball for Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College.
The college signing took place on Friday, Jan. 11, at the Newcastle hospitality room at the football field house.
Her fellow teammates, coaches and family members were in attendance to support Bowman.
Hillsdale College is a small college located in Moore where students receive a four-year degree.