Racers softball team still strong as meat of the schedule lies ahead
Make no mistake about it. Newcastle softball head coach Mike Crossley was not pleased with his team’s performance last week.
But, then again, it might be just what the doctor ordered for his club. Newcastle is now 17-1 after beating Bethel at home and losing to Dale over the weekend.
The Racers’ fast-pitch softball team won a 1-0 decision over the Bethel Wildcats at home last Thursday behind another no-hitter from star junior pitcher McKenzie Wagoner. She was the force behind the win, striking out eight while walking none.
It was her fifth no-hitter of the year – behind ‘no-no’s’ against Lincoln Christian (3-0) on Aug. 10 and Plainview (9-0) on Aug. 11 at the Chisholm Trail Classic, Jenks (2-0) on Sept. 8 at the Bixby Tournament, and Tecumseh (10-0) at home on Sept. 11. Against Bethel, she improved her record to a salty 7-0 this season with a total of 75 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched, along with
a 0.00 ERA.
But, the problem was the Racers didn’t get any hits, either, against Bethel’s Jordyn Zachary. She allowed no hits while walking two and striking out three.
“It was a butt-ugly game,” said Crossley, who was clearly irritated. “Neither team was able to hit. We just went through the motions and we didn’t do a very good job of adjusting at the plate. We broke our technique badly on low pitches. I wasn’t too pleased with our effort today as far as our mental adjustments at the plate. We just didn’t do a very good job.”
The Racers scored the only run in the game in the first inning, thanks to leadoff hitter Maebrae Robertson’s hard smash to the Bethel second baseman, who flubbed it. The next hitter, Kennedy Cook, put the ball in play. Bethel’s second baseman made another error – flinging the ball into the outfield to allow Robertson to score the game’s only run.
“McKenzie threw another ‘no-no’ at them,” Crossley said. “But, we have to do better than that. I encourage other teams to get after us. I want to see that and to see how we react to it. I’m disappointed with our play today and our approach at the plate. We just didn’t do a very good job. I know we will have bad days and be off. But, we weren’t smart today and we almost lost it.
“We were lucky they couldn’t touch McKenzie. They struggled against her which a lot of people do. We did play good defense. I guess some days you have bad days at the plate. We hit a ground ball to second to lead the game off for us. She kicked it and then we bunted. They threw it into left field and we scored a run and that was it. It was pop fly, pop fly, pop fly for us. We didn’t adjust but we will.”
Next up for Newcastle was Dale, a very stout Class 2A team which is now 25-3. The Lady Pirates took a 7-0 decision from Newcastle to give the Racers their first loss of the year.
Taryn O’Brien was the losing pitcher for Newcastle. She allowed seven runs on eight hits in five innings while walking one and striking out three. O’Brien had two hits in the contest while Robertson, Wagoner, and Rylee Ross also had hits for the Racers.
The loss for the Racers was good and bad. On the bad side, of course, was that the defeat was the first of the year for Newcastle. On the good side, though, was that the loss showed the Racers what they need to do to get better.
“It takes some pressure off us to some degree,” Crossley said after his team’s first loss. “I heard the girls talking about how we were undefeated before the game. You can still play bad and win a ball game like we did last week. You can still feel good about yourself but it doesn’t mean you played well.
than we did
last Thursday. We
swung the bats much
better but Dale is just a
good ball club. You can fall
into a false sense of security when you’re undefeated.
“We’ve been telling our girls we’ve got some things we need to work on. We have to work on it and we have to do it with the schedule we have coming up. We have Dale again and all the other schools we will play will put a lot of pressure on us. We were in a comfort zone and we need to get out of it. We were not working as hard as we should have been and it’s a tough game to play.”
The Racers will have to step it up. They played at Bethel on Monday night and at Harrah on Tuesday. This weekend, they face a gauntlet of teams in the Oklahoma Christian/Edmond North tournament. The teams will include bigger schools such as Mustang, Deer Creek, Sand Springs, and Owasso.
“When you play good people, you’ve got to keep working,” Crossley said. “We lost a little of that but, hopefully, this loss today will get us back. We’re still good. It’s a new school record at 17-0. The old record was 13-0 two years ago. We’ll get better.” ›