Newcastle softball now 6-0 after another solid outing by Wagoner
The Newcastle Racers fast-pitch softball team defeated the Kingfisher Yellow Jackets, 8-0, last Thursday to improve on the season to a perfect 6-0. But, more tough teams are on the horizon.
“I thought the game went well and we started to make adjustments at the plate,” Newcastle head coach Mike Crossley said. “Kingfisher has done a really good job against other people they’ve faced. They’ve been playing tough. They’re 9-6 and their coach said the ones they’ve lost came around the fifth inning when they would stop hitting.”
Indeed, the Kingfisher contingent (now 9-8) came into last Thursday’s contest with a fine record. They had wins against some big teams. But, it was Newcastle’s ability to adjust that kept their 6-0 record intact.
“I saw some adjustment in our game and we worked on a few things that we had been doing in practice,” Crossley said. “We put together quite a few hits and Kingfisher is not a bad ball club. My confidence is still there and we’ll get there as a team. This is a real confident group but sometimes we get too confident and we’re not as focused as we need to be.”
Newcastle has reason to be confident in its abilities. After all, they have perhaps the top pitcher in the state of Oklahoma (all classes included) in senior McKenzie Wagoner, who improved her record on the season to 5-0.
“I guess you could call it over-confidence and I’d been trying to get their attention about that,” Crossley said. “Our seniors did a good job, though, of leading us today and, of course, McKenzie threw well. She mixed in a few more curve balls today and they were sitting there ‘dead red’ and coming out of their shoes.”
The Kingfisher hitters were constantly swinging under the ball and were late with their cuts. Crossley attributed that to Wagoner’s ability to sharpen her decisions on the way she pitches certain hitters.
“Her curveball would flutter up there and it spins real tight to where it looks like her rise-ball spin,” Crossley said. “It spins really hard and the batters are out on their front foot and they swing too early. Her curve drops seven or eight miles per hour and it’s hard to lay off of.
“She’s got a good change-up, too, but she didn’t throw it much today. Good teams later on will be able to hit her fastball. So, she’s got to have a good repertoire.”
In the bottom of the third, shortstop Maebree Robertson doubled to score Destiny Donahue for a 1-0 Newcastle lead. Then, an error by the Kingfisher third baseman allowed Robertson to score for a 2-0 advantage.
After Wagoner struck out the side in the top of the fourth, Kelsey Housely had a bunt hit to load the bases and score a run in the bottom of the inning. A passed ball by Kingfisher allowed another run to score for a 4-0 Newcastle lead.
First baseman Taryn O’Brien singled in Kennedy Cook for another run for a 5-0 Racer lead in the fourth. Wagoner hit a batter with two out in the top of the fifth inning but the next Kingfisher batter tried to bunt and Newcastle catcher Shannon Pursell threw her out at first.
In the top of the sixth, Kingfisher’s hitter knocked a solid double off the left field fence with only one out. But, Wagoner prevailed by striking out the next two Yellow Jackets.
The bottom of the sixth showed Kingfisher’s ultimate doom. Wagoner cracked a double off the left center field fence. Cook doubled to score pinch-runner Maddi Burchett for a 6-0 Newcastle lead.
Destiny Donahue then singled to right field to score Burchett for another run for the Racers. Shannon Pursell doubled to score Cook for the final 8-0 tally. Wagoner ended with 17 strikeouts and no walks. She now has 70 strikeouts in just 33 innings. Her earned run average is still 0.00.
All in all, it was a good, strong outing for the Lady Racers. Crossley’s team was set to meet the McLoud Lady Redskins at 5 p.m. at home on Tuesday evening. Coached by Chance Griffin, McLoud was 7-2 before game time and McLoud’s team looks to be a strong district foe for Newcastle.
“We’ll be ready for McLoud,” Crossley said. “It’s another district game and we’ll get their best. We know that and we’re ready for it. After McLoud, we’ll have the Choctaw-Carl Albert tournament and we’ll be ready for that. We’ll see some good competition and that’s why we wanted to go there – to face some good competition and get pushed.”
The tournament will be played at both Choctaw and Carl Albert high schools. Newcastle’s first opponent will be the Class 3A Washington Warriors, who are currently 10-5 and coached by former University of Oklahoma baseball player Jace Brewer.
The Warriors were the runner-ups last season in Class 3A. They lost to Sequoyah-Tahlequah, 11-1, in the state championship game and ended the season with a very nice 28-11 record.