It was not the easiest of paths, but the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma softball team managed to find a way back to the NAIA Softball World Series.
After falling to the University of Houston-Victoria Tuesday, USAO had to win three elimination games in a row to advance past the NAIA Opening Round in Dodge City, Kansas.
The Drovers opened play Monday with a 6-3 win over Avila University. Destinie Lookout and Randa Hatter each hit two-run home runs to help the Drovers overpower the Eagles.
But a 1-0 loss to UHV on Tuesday meant the Drovers were just one loss away from elimination.
The NAIA’s top-ranked team was up to the task and won all three elimination games by a combined score of 30-5.
USAO battled Avila again on Tuesday and came away with a 10-3 victory over the Eagles. Hatter put together a 2-for-3 performance at the plate with six RBIs. Hatter’s two hits were both three-run home runs.
Finishing play on Wednesday, the Drovers needed to take down UHV two times if they wanted to advance. It was another task that turned out to be no problem for head coach Jadyn Wallis’ squad.
After not scoring against UHV in the first meeting of the tournament, USAO started the second meeting by scoring two runs in the bottom half of the first inning in the 8-2 win.
With USAO’s lead cut from 2-0 to 2-1, the Drovers managed to load the bases for Lookout. She managed to deliver, hitting a grand slam to give the Drovers a 6-1 lead.
Lookout put together a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with six RBIs in the victory.
With the win, USAO forced a game with plenty of stakes for both programs, and USAO was able to find momentum early in the 12-0 run-rule victory.
The Drovers managed to jump out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning. Karmyn Pearn drove in three of those runs with a double.
USAO added four more runs in the second, one run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to finish off the win.
Pearn led the way for the Drovers with four RBIs in the win.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Cerny struck out three batters and allowed just two hits in five innings of work in the 12-0 win.
The World Series is scheduled to begin May 23 in Springfield, Missouri.