OKLAHOMA CITY – Even though they only played two games, the Drover softball team battled for 22 innings of play in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

In the opening game, the Drovers were up against third-seeded Oklahoma Baptist and came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. The game came down to the 14th inning before USAO was defeated.

After giving up four runs in the first three innings, the Drovers grabbed their first run in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Sara Reeves doubled to left center to bring home Ashley Sanders. Sanders was pinch running for Ashley Mitchell, who’d singled to right field.

The Drovers shut out the Bison for the next three innings and tied the game late in the bottom of the seventh. Reeves and catcher Markie LaFerney were both on base when pitcher Neesha Sorrell doubled to right center bringing both teammates in.

Sorrell then stole home for a fourth Drover run while the defense was concentrating on Skyler Nichols, who was stealing second.

With the ballgame tied at 4-4, the teams went into extra innings. After six scoreless innings, the Bison scored three runs in the 14th inning of the game to grab the lead, a lead the Drovers couldn’t overcome.

Sorrell pitched all 14 innings for the Drovers. In that time, she threw just two walks and struck 10 batters out.

The delay from the first game pushed the start time of game two back a few hours, giving USAO and opponent Rogers State, seventh seed, time to rest.

This time, it was the Drovers who struck first. In the second inning, senior Laci Weger-Garrett singled to right center, allowing Reeves to score.

An inning and a half later, RSU’s shortstop scored a run for the Hillcats to tie the game.

The Drovers continued to battle and forced the game into extra innings yet again. But the long day and extra innings began to wear on the Drovers and freshman pitcher Sorrell, who pitched the last three innings. The Drovers gave up a home run in the top of the eighth. They were not able to recover a run of their own and fell 2-1.

Brooke McLeod pitched the first five innings for USAO and gave up just two hits in the 17 batters she faced.

The conference was set up as a double elimination. At 0-2 on the day, the Drovers return home to begin to prepare for next season. USAO ends the season at 30-26 overall.

Published: May 6, 2011