ALVA, Okla. – The return trip from Northwestern Saturday was much longer than the trip to Alva Thursday.
After Friday’s two excellent games between two good teams, Saturday’s action was shock and awe in light of a baker’s dozen home runs by the Lady Rangers in a sweep of Southeastern softballers.
The hostesses logged 17-4 and 13-7 victories over the Storm, but it wasn’t quite enough to dislodge the Storm from the top spot in the Great American Conference standings.
Southeastern is 29-13 overall and 22-9 in GAC action. NW is 33-13 and 21-9, leaving the Storm a slight edge in the conference race with two weeks remaining.
Storm coach Ron Faubion said, “We hit well enough to win every game and we played defense well enough to win every game. We just ran out of pitching.
“Sydney Kramer, Lauren Renneker, Jessica Simmons and Haley Strawn all hit the ball well.
“We played really well the first day and didn’t show up for the second day.
“We have eight games left in the regular season. All are conference games and all are at home. We control our own fate with two weekends left for conference games. How well we finish is strictly up to us.
“We’re just hoping to have our regular turnout of fans this weekend and next weekend. Great support does indeed make a difference.”
Southeastern is scheduled to host Southwestern Friday and Saturday. Henderson State, No. 3 in the conference race, is slated to be here on April 25-26.
The 2014 regular-season champion likely will be determined in the final week of competition.
Southeastern mounted a two-out rally in the first inning when Sydney Kramer collected the first of three-straight singles. Laramie Beal followed with a single and Haley Strawn’s base hit plated pinch-runner Shaina Crites.
Four solo home runs later, the Lady Rangers had a 3-run lead they never relinquished.
Lindsay Thorstenson led off with a home run for NW and it was the first of four straight for the center fielder. Right fielder Sylvana Kelley added three homers, pitcher Shelby Anderson and catcher Tyler Casada had one roundtripper each.
Kramer paced the Storm with three for three and was one of only two with multiple hits.
The Storm was simply outmuscled as NW collected 15 hits to SE’s nine. Three errors didn’t help the LadyStorm as NW played errorless ball.
The Storm scored two in the second on Jessica Simmons’ single that drove in Arianna (A.J.) Jones and Mindy McElmore.
The Lady Rangers added five in the second, four in the third and four in the fourth to end it on the run-rule.
Kramer was three for three and Laramie Beal two for three to lead Southeastern. A.J. and McElroy were each one for two with a run scored. Simmons, Strawn and Courtney Riddle were one for three each.
Thorstenson was four for four, all home runs, scored four and drove in five to lead Northwestern.
McElroy pitched the first 1.2 innings and allowed nine runs, five earned, on nine hits. Hosanna McCoy finished the second inning and gave up nothing before Rachel Jones pitched the last two innings, giving up eight runs on six hits.
McElroy took the loss and dipped to 16-5.
NW opened the scoring on a leadoff double, walk and two-out single to make it 1-0 after one inning.
The Storm tied it in the second when Beal walked to open the inning, Stawn doubled her to third and A.J. walked one out later to load the bases. Lauren Renneker’s sacrifice fly to center field drove in Beal.
NW continued the long-ball barrage in the bottom of the second when Megan Sanders led off with a homer, followed by a pair of doubles and Thorstenson’s fifth home run of the day. Anderson added her second homer of the day to make it 6-1.
Southeastern picked up a run in the fourth when Riddle walked and pinch-runner Connor McCoy scored on a single by A. J.
Two in the fifth and three in the sixth ended SE’s scoring.
Northwestern scored five in the fifth and two in the sixth to wrap it up.
Jacee Bennett started for the Storm, worked the first 2.2 innings, allowing nine runs on 12 hits. McCoy finished the game, going 3.1 frames and allowing four runs on five hits.
Bennett took the loss to make her record 8-5.
Simmons and Renneker were two for three each to lead the Storm. Renneker belted her second homer and drove in three runs. Simmons scored one run.
A.J. was one for two, scored a run and drove in a run. Lacie Cook, Beal and Strawn were one for three each for the Storm and Kramer was one for four.
Thorstenson was five for five with a home run, three runs scored and three batted in to top NW.