By Deshaun Hartley
What a game. For the fans out there who love Texas State softball, you missed a pitching showdown between Texas State’s own Meagan King and North Dakota State’s Paige Vargas, as both pitchers exemplified magnificent arm strength and speed to outwit each batter that came to the plate. Many may wonder how it could be a pitching showdown if the final score was 4-3, but both defenses allowed no runs until the top of the 10th inning where North Dakota State eventually would pull away 4-0, ultimately leading the Bobcats to their second loss of the season dropping them to 2-2.
With a cloudy sky and rain showering down on the fans, teams shouted out their respective chants to get their teammates and fans rallied for the game. Even with the weather being as poor as it was, the Bobcats stayed energetic and fought until the very end. At the beginning of the game, the defense was so stifling that I thought men’s basketball coach and defensive guru Danny Kaspar was out their coaching, but instead I saw junior infielder Hailey MacKay, scooping up ground balls and yelling “I got it, I got it” as pop flies continuously flew her way. Her defensive presence was outstanding for this team, but you can’t mention defense without mentioning center fielder Christiana McDowell, who in the seventh inning caught two fly balls and one specifically out of her area, that was chased down and caught by the Round Rock native as she celebrated with a little jump shot in the outfield following her spectacular catch.
North Dakota State is not an unfamiliar team, considering the Bobcats would run rule them in the fifth inning of Sunday night’s showdown. As the old saying goes “it’s hard to beat the same team twice.” Well, in the 10th inning, the bats for the Bisons arose from the dead as they scored four of their six runs on the night. Junior Stephanie Soriano stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, eventually leading to a walk, forcing Head Coach Ricci Woodard to remove 10-inning pitcher Megan King. That substitution brought in junior pitcher Dalilah Barrera, who allowed the Bisons’ Vanessa Anderson to step up and hit a three-run double.
The bottom of the 10th was a good test for the Bobcats, as it displayed their toughness and heart as they try to battle back from a four-point deficit. Freshman Cat Crenek stepped up and ripped a single, followed by a Christiana McDowell double off the wall bringing in a runner. Then Hailey MacKay (pre-season All Sun Belt Team), remember her? Walks in the box, calm, cool and collected and just rips the ball over the left field wall, bring the Bobcats within one point. Unfortunately, the Bobcats would fall short in extra innings leaving the Sun Belt Conference reigning champions at 2-2 to start the season.
Coming up next, the Bobcats will square-off against San Jose State on Feb. 15 in the Troy Cox Classic. The first pitch is set to be thrown at 2:30 p.m. at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.
Featured photo by Texas State Athletics.