Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Oklahoma City's Mindy Crabaugh reaches for the plate in scoring the game's only run in her team's win over Point Loma Nazarene in the winners' bracket final game of the NAIAsoftball championships at Wilson Morgan Park on Tuesday. Oklahoma City is one win away from the national title. Point Loma plays California Baptist in the losers' bracket finals Wednesday at 10 a.m.
1 win away
Oklahoma native savors scoring
game's lone run for winning Stars
By Mark Edwards
email@example.com · 340-2461
Mindy Crabaugh grew up in Edmond, Okla., about a 25-minute drive from Oklahoma City University, where her father, Denney Crabaugh, is the longtime baseball coach.
She watched the Oklahoma City softball team closely and cheered as the program won seven NAIA championships. She's a softball player, too, and even helped Edmond North High win an Oklahoma state championship in 2004. She joined the OCU softball tradition herself upon enrolling at her hometown university in the fall of 2005.
So imagine her joy in helping Oklahoma City back to the championship round for the first time since 2002. Crabaugh scored the only run in the Stars' 1-0 win Tuesday over Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), which vaulted her team into Wednesday's finals at Wilson Morgan Park.
"For me, growing up and watching Oklahoma City softball and seeing and hearing so much about them, to be part of the team that's going back to the championship round is so exciting," Crabaugh said.
On Wednesday, Point Loma Nazarene (44-11) must face Golden State Athletic Conference rival California Baptist (59-4) at 10 a.m. in an elimination game. The winner will face Oklahoma City (52-6) at 12:30 p.m. If OCU wins, the Stars are the champs.
If OCU loses, then the two teams will play again at 3 p.m. in a final game.
Since winning the NAIA championships in 2002 by beating Point Loma in the finals, the Stars haven't finished higher than third place, which they did in 2004.
"I wish I could say we're back where we think we belong," said OCU's Phil McSpadden, who has coached the program to all seven of its championships. "But there are too many good teams in the country to say that.
"I will say that I'm glad to be back in the finals, and I'm enjoying the trip."
Tuesday's OCU-Point Loma game matched up two of the tournament's most dominating pitchers.
Oklahoma City senior Dasha Shembereva pitched a two-hitter with no walks. She didn't allow a runner as far as second base until the sixth inning when Point Loma had runners on first and second with one out. But she coaxed a groundout from Melissa Gomez and set down Allison Boeckelman on strikes to end the threat.
So far in the tournament, Shembereva is 5-0 and is working on a scoreless streak of 21 1/3 innings.
Point Loma's KC Robertson allowed seven hits and one unearned run in the second inning. She has pitched 25 innings in the tournament and hasn't given up an earned run.
The Stars' lone run came on a base-running play that McSpadden said probably wouldn't work nine times out of 10. For OCU, the 10th time came at the right time.
After getting two straight runners thrown out at home, OCU tried one more time. With Crabaugh on third base and her former Edmond North teammate, Laurin Hess, on first, McSpadden called for a delayed steal.
As Boeckelman, the catcher, threw the ball back to Robertson, Hess broke partway to second base, trying to draw a throw. As the Point Loma dugout shouted, "Don't throw," Robertson threw to second base. Crabaugh broke home, and the throw to get her was too late.
"Normally, that's our personality to do what they did — try to create chaos," Point Loma coach Dave Williams said. "We were fed a little bit of our own medicine."
Crabaugh said she was a little surprised the play worked.
"I'm not the quickest person," she said laughing, even though she has stolen four bases this season.
NAIA Softball Championships
Oklahoma City 1, Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 0
Simon Fraser (Canada) 10, St. Gregory’s 3
California Baptist 3, Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) 1
California Baptist 6, Simon Fraser (Canada) 1
Wednesday’s final round
California Baptist vs. Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), 10 a.m.
Oklahoma City vs. California Baptist/Point Loma Nazarene winner, 12:30 p.m.
Oklahoma City vs. California Baptist/Point Loma Nazarene winner (if necessary), 3 p.m.
NAIA Softball Championships
Players of the day
Dasha Shembereva pitched a two-hit shutout as Oklahoma City beat Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 1-0 in a winners’ bracket game. She is 5-0 in the tournament.
Point Loma Nazarene’s KC Robertson pitched a seven-hitter in the loss to Oklahoma City. She has worked 25 innings in the tournament and hasn’t given up an earned run.
Melanie Matthews went 4-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs and slugged a home run in Simon Fraser’s 10-3 win over St. Gregory’s (Okla.).
California Baptist’s Sara Goforth went 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs as the Lancers beat Trevecca Nazarene (Calif.) 3-1 and Simon Fraser (Canada) 6-1.
Sisters Amy and Candice Thomas each pitched complete-game wins for California Baptist. Amy threw a two-hitter in the win over Trevecca Nazarene, and Candice pitched a five-hitter in the win over Simon Fraser.
- Mark Edwards
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