OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4, 2013) – With a truly wild (pitch) walk-off finish, the No. 2 Lubbock Christian University Lady Chaparrals accomplished the one feat they have failed to accomplish until now… taking the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, as they defeated No. 5 Oklahoma City University 6-5 with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the crazy ending at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kirstie Cochran hit a ground ball to shortstop, which initially resulted in a 6-5 fielder's choice to retire Diana De La Paz for the second out of the inning, but the umpire ruled shortstop Tori Joyner obstructed with De La Paz and she was ruled safe, loading the bases. Following a strikeout to pinch hitter Amanda Longorio, LCU were down to their last out. McKenzie Clemmons hit a slow roller off the end of the bat and the Stars pitcher, Danielle Fox, decided to go home with the throw. However, Fox, trying to backhand toss the ball to the catcher, threw it away scoring De La Paz and Ashton Bell tying the game at 5-5. With first base unoccupied, OCU decided to intentionally walk Megan Sullivan to face an 0-for-4 Latainna Eltsosie. With Star's catcher Angela Lovelady standing and holding her hand out to take the pitch-out, Fox pitched the ball wide of the reach of Lovelady allowing Kirstie Cochran to come home on the wild pitch and clinch the tournament championship.
Mallory Koschany scored on an error by OCU third baseman, Megan De La Torre, in the first inning to put the Lady Chaps up 1-0. The Stars plated four runs in the top of the third inning with Shelbi Legg, LeeAnn Lopez, Kyndra Holasek and Drew Wright all scoring during the two-out rally. Most of the damage was done by the Stars when Koschany, playing left field, injured herself colliding with McKenzie and the left field fence attempting to chase down a fly ball from De La Torre, resulting in a triple. The Lady Chaps would answer in the bottom of the third inning with Stephanie Rendon bringing home McKenzie Clemmons with a shot up the middle making the score 4-2. Diana De La Paz scored a run in the fifth inning being driven in by two-out hit to left field by Cochran to make it a one-run game (4-3). The Stars came right back in the top of the sixth inning getting their final run off a Jamie Ratliff home run before the wildness of the seventh ensued.
All five of OCU's runs and five of LCU's six runs were scored with two outs. Cochran (2-for-4) and Koria (2-for-3) each led LCU in hits. Emily Krienke was OCU's lone player with two hits in the game. Katera Eltsosie started in the circle for LCU and went the distance allowing five runs (three earned) off eight hits. She improved to 27-4 on the season. Fox was making her first start of the season and her third career start in the circle for OCU. She allowed six runs (only two earned) and struck out five LCU batters.
The 2013 edition of the SAC Tournament is the last for the Lady Chaps to compete in, as they make the jump next season to the Heartland Conference. LCU went 3-0 in this season's tournament and they are 20-9 all-time in the tourney.
The win brings the Lady Chaps record to 55-7 on the year, as they prepare to host one of the 10 NAIA National Championship Opening Round Tournaments, which begins at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 13th at PlainsCapital Park on the LCU campus. Oklahoma City University falls to 47-12 on the season and also prepares to host one of the Opening Rounds at Ann Lacy Stadium on their campus.