Softball Team Wins Season Finale—By Laura Nelson on 04/21/2012 Wichita, Kans.—The Oklahoma Panhandle State University softball team ended their season Saturday, winning the final game of the three game series against the Newman Jets in Wichita, Kan.
Even though the Aggies had seven hits and the Jets had eight hits in game one, Newman plated two runs and left only three stranded while no OPSU runners made it safely home and left a total of six runners on base. Talena Tippett pitched the entire game and took the loss as she faced 23 batters, struck out one, and walked no one. Julie Cross was a perfect 3-3 at the plate and Chelsea Usher went 2-1.
The Aggies scored one run in each of the first and third innings in the second half of the doubleheader on Friday and led 2-0 going into the fourth. Newman soon answered with two runs to tie the score and scored another run in the sixth to pull ahead by one. In the seventh, Usher tripled to score Candace Smith and Juuna'e Dai'Re, putting the Aggies up by one. The Jets scored another single run in their half of the inning to tie the score and send the game into extra innings. The eighth inning was scoreless for both teams. The Jets held the Aggies off in the ninth, and then scored one run to win the game 5-4. The Aggies used a total of four pitchers in the contest, and Tippett again was given the loss. Usher produced three hits in four at-bats and two RBIs. Lindsey Sheppard and Brandi Heath each had one RBI.
On Saturday in the final game of the series, the Aggies again scored the first run as Dezyrae Arredondo singled, advanced on two more singles by Smith and Juuna'e Dai'Re and then reached home thanks to a single by Cross. Newman tied the score at one in the fourth, but OPSU fought back in the fifth with a four-run inning as Usher led off with a solo homer that was followed by a run by Heath and a Kari Fry home run that scored two, putting the Aggies ahead 5-1. The Jets scored one more run, but OPSU claimed the victory in their season finale. Starting pitcher Kayla Pollard struck out five and scattered six hits to earn the win and reliever Kendra Wellnitz, the lone senior on the team, was credited with the save in her final Aggie game.
Under the guidance of head coach Rachel Burleson and her assistants Meghan Mulcahy and Andy Klaus, the OPSU softball team has improved tremendously, increasing their wins to 19 this year after only three in each of the two prior years. With only one senior leaving this year, next year's experienced Aggies will be a team to watch. Congratulations to the team and thanks for providing some great games for your fans!