Lady Riders shut down NEO

DSC_0049Aby Steve Chapman, Executive Media Editor

The Crowder Ladyriders won their first home game of the season on Thursday, Feb. 25 when they defeated Northeastern Oklahoma A & M (NEO), 6-4. The teams were supposed to play two games back to back, but due to a 90 minute delay caused when the umpires arrived late, there was only time for one game.

Neither team scored during the first inning, but the stalemate was broken at the bottom of the second when Pitcher Danielle Salas hit a single, allowing Infielder Paige Mendoza to run into home, scoring the first point of the game.

The Ladyriders caught fire during the third inning. After NEO scored two points at the top of the third, the Ladyriders rallied when Infielder McKenzie Escovedo hit a single. Mendoza also hit a single, but Escovedo was tagged out at second. Outfielder Lizzie Souza hit a single, and Outfielder Megan Heman walked to first after getting four balls, loading the bases.

Infielder Bethany Doty hit a single, and Mendoza and Souza ran into homeplate. Pitcher Danielle Salas then hit a double, allowing Heman and Doty to run home, and the inning ended with Crowder in the lead, 5-2.

At the top of the fifth, NEO got two more runs to make the score 5-4. However, Salas made a line drive towards centerfield and ran onto first. Infielder Nicole Ickes then got four balls to walk to first. Outfielder Courtni Smith then hit a double, running Salas home to make the score 6-4.

After the game, Coach John Sisemore said he was pleased with the Ladyriders’ performance, but the team would continue to work on improving its game.

“We need to work on all areas,” he said. “We had a couple of mishaps in the outfield today, but we’ll clean that up and do better things in the outfield. We’ve got to do a little better hitting early in the lineup, getting runners on base. We’ll be more effective doing that.

“We left bases loaded a couple of times and had a couple of opportunities to break the game open. We need to break the game open and have the killer instinct and get better doing that.”

Sizemore added that the team’s victory was very significant, because NEO was a very highly ranked team last year.

“NEO is a really good team; they were defending national runner up champions last year, (and) they were ranked in the top 10. So for us to just get a game to see where we stand up and where we stack up this early in the season until we get into conference lets us know a lot.”

Pitcher Bree Cornett said she had been somewhat nervous at the start of the game, but that went away when they started playing.

“I was nervous first coming out, and then when we started playing, nerves just went away,” she said. “It was a close game the whole time, so it was just exciting.”

During the game, cold, blustery winds plagued the field, but Cornett said the weather was not a significant factor in the game.

“Really, at first, I thought the weather was going to make it a lot worse than it was, but my team came out and we were ready to go, so I don’t think it made it any worse on us.”

The Ladyriders will next play Carl Albert State College in a doubleheader at home on Thursday, March 3.