The Crowder Lady ‘Riders closed out their regular season with a home finale on Wednesday against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. The teams split the doubleheader as Crowder won game one 2-0, and the Lady Norse took game two 8-4 in eight innings.
In game one, Lady ‘Riders freshman Allison Tonyan turned in one of her best outings of the season on the mound as the right hander threw a three-hitter with two strikeouts to earn the win.
“She’s been effective because she keeps the ball down in the zone,” Crowder coach Lori Videmschek said. “She’s not an overpowering pitcher, but she is a pitcher that’s going to keep the ball low in the zone. If she continues to keep that ball low in the zone we’re going to be OK.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Jessica Neely made the first dent in the scoreboard with her bat.
Neely ripped a double down the third base line leading off the bottom of the first. Shelby Stuck followed with an infield single to put runners at first and third. Neely later scored on a double-steal attempt when the Lady Norse bobbled the throw to second and made a bad return home to make it 1-0.
Morgan Coleman scored the second run in the fourth inning. With one out in the frame she singled and went to second on a sac bunt by Kala Crisp. Shyanne Nichols lifted a two-out pop fly just behind the bag at second, but the Lady Norse shortstop dropped the ball as Coleman raced home.
Neely, Stuck, Carson Forge and Coleman each had a hit in the game.
Game two provided more offense for both squads. The Lady Norse plated the first run after a leadoff walk to Bailey Donathan opened the game. She later scored on a passed ball to make it 1-0.
A leadoff walk in the bottom of the second helped the Lady ‘Riders tie the game. Morgan Coleman drew the free pass and promptly stole second. Kala Crisp then brought her home on a single to left to make it 1-1. NEO would move back in front with two runs in the third to make it 3-1.
Carson Forge tripled and scored in the Crowder fifth and Andrea Drake singled and scored on Neely’s double in the sixth to tie it 3-3. NEO drew another leadoff walk to open the seventh and that baserunner came around to make it 4-3. But the Lady ‘Riders answered with a leadoff walk of their own, and Crisp singled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it and send it into extras.
The Lady Norse would go on to score four runs on two hits, a walk and two errors in the inning to make it 8-4 in the eighth. All four runs scored with two outs, and three came on a bases-loaded double by Megan Higgins to blow it open. Crowder loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but failed to score.
Page 2 of 2 - “We gave them about three runs today off walks and you can’t do that, especially giving them passes to lead off an inning,” Videmschek said. “You can’t do that and expect to win. But we battled back. Our kids kept fighting the whole way through.”
Neely doubled twice in the game, while Crisp and Alexis Navarro each had two hits and an RBI. Forge tripled, walked twice and scored two runs. Coleman had a hit, an RBI and scored once. Drake had a hit and scored a run, while Shyanne Nichols and Amber Taylor both had hits.
Crowder closed the regular season 36-16 overall and 15-4 in Region 16 play. They’ll begin play at the Region 16 Tournament this weekend at Battle High School in Columbia, Mo., playing their best ball in weeks, according to Videmschek.
“We’re ready,” she said. “We’re playing a lot better ball than we were two weeks ago.”