OKLA. CITY —
It was one of those days when everything seemed right for Oklahoma Christian softball.
On a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon, the Lady Eagles finally got to hold their “grand-opening” celebration for their new $3.9 million home, Tom Heath Field at Lawson Plaza. Then OC capped the day with a history-making win, recording its third straight shutout — its first such streak in five years — and giving coach Tom Heath his 600th career win by beating Rogers State 5-0.
Oklahoma Christian (23-11, 8-4 Heartland Conference) will carry a 10-game winning streak into a showdown on Tuesday at defending NCAA Division II national champion Central Oklahoma, which has won 18 of its last 19 games.
“That’s a good stretch for us right now — and some of those are conference games — that we really put an emphasis on,” Heath said. “We’re on a roll right now. Our pitching and defense is very good and we’re getting some timely hits right now, which we needed.
“We couldn’t have had a better day. The weather was perfect. We had a big crowd out there today to honor those people that started the program — and especially the Lawson family — that have meant so much to the softball program. They donated the money to build this facility and have been a big part of our program the last several years. It was a very nice occasion.”
Before the game, OC honored four people who played key roles in the development of the university’s softball program — Distinguished Professor of Bible Stafford North, who, as OC’s executive vice president in the mid 1990s, approved the creation of the program; current Oklahoma Christian Athletic Director Curtis Janz; and Ricky and Kelly Lawson, whose gift made possible the construction of the stadium.
Each of the four threw out a “first pitch,” then OC freshman Shea Coats went out and pitched a gem of her own. Coats (12-2) tossed a complete-game 6-hitter for her second shutout of Rogers State (10-24, 4-11) in as many days.
The Hillcats only seriously threatened once, loading the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but Coats struck out Kassie Brugmann and retired Jamie Kowalick on a short fly ball to left field to end the game.
In between Coats’ two shutouts against the Hillcats, Taylor Mosher threw one of her own. The last time OC recorded three straight shutouts was in 2009, when the Lady Eagles blanked Northwestern Oklahoma State twice on March 29, then did the same to Ottawa (Kan.) five days later.
“Our pitching was awesome for all three games,” Heath said. “Everybody threw very well. They had their stuff and I’m very proud of our pitching staff. They’re tough. It was a good weekend for them.”
Oklahoma Christian jumped early on Rogers State starter Yolanda Rios (7-16), scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Niki Davidson and Courtney Starr. Lauren Pittman singled to lead off the second for OC and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Kala Ratliff.
The Lady Eagles rode that 3-0 lead until the fifth, when Lauren Chatigny drew a leadoff walk from Rogers State reliever Brooklyne Harbert, and Martha Thomas followed one out later with a no-doubt blast over the right-field wall. It was Thomas’ second homer of the series and her sixth of the season and bumped up her season batting average to .462.
“Moose is seeing the ball well,” Heath said of Thomas. “She is one that pitchers fear to throw to. She can hit the long ball, like she did today. She hits the ball hard. We needed that. We hadn’t scored in a couple of innings and we needed to add a couple of runs, so she took care of that with one big swing.”
After the game, Eagle assistant coaches Jessica Ruckman and Steve Gault surprised Heath at home plate, presenting him with a plaque noting his 600th-career win. Heath started the Oklahoma Christian program in 1995 and has been the Lady Eagles’ only head coach.
“When it was announced, I didn’t know what was going on, because I really haven’t kept up with the wins,” Heath said. “Like I told the team in the locker room, honestly, every day is a new day for me. I just take care of business that day. I just did not realize I was that close. But it is an honor. I’m glad I’ve been around long enough to get to that 600th win.”
This is the Lady Eagles’ first season to enjoy the Lawson Softball Complex. Among the amenities at the stadium are a locker room with individual wooden lockers, couches and a flat-screen television; four coaches’ offices; a training room; laundry facilities; a VIP/players’ lounge, from which one can view the field; an umpire’s room; a spacious visitors’ locker room; permanent restrooms; a press box; about 300 permanent seats; a separate indoor training facility and a 34-vehicle parking lot.
The primary contractor for the stadium was RGroup Inc. of Choctaw, which is owned by OC alumnus and former men’s basketball player Dillon Ripley.
Eagles dedicate facility
OKLA. CITY —
It was one of those days when everything seemed right for Oklahoma Christian softball.
Deer Creek 2nd largest in Class 5A
With the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association releasing enrollment figures, Deer Creek stands as the second-largest school in Class 5A with 1,252 students.
Lawton Eisenhower, which had been a very strong football program in 6A, is now tops in 5A with 1,281 students.
Schedules in football classification still remain the same until 2016-17. Del City will move back into 6A beginning in 2016.
The statistics will not be deemed official until pending approval at the OSSAA’s board meeting next month.
Wilson, Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season
Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins.
The moves were made to aid OU’s defense. They could benefit both in the future.
Yurcich ready for second season
With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.
Yurcich and most of the Cowboys’ coaching staff attended the annual media golf outing Wednesday at Karsten Creek. He, along with the other assistant coaches, talked about the upcoming season.
“Every offense is going to be a little bit different from year to year, depending on the personnel,” Yurcich said. “I think you learn a little bit more about the players, because you know them for a longer time. You know a little bit more about the coaches you work with because you’re around them a little bit longer. All of those things factor into one more year of experience.
Wallar voted National Tennis Coach of the Year finalist
The National High School Athletic Coaches Association honored Dee Ann Waller, coach and teacher from Edmond North High School, as a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in tennis.
Eight finalists from across the nation were chosen to be honored during The National Coach of the Year awards banquet that took place during the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s national convention June 14-18, at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wy.
McKey to compete in North American final
Edmond’s Mary McKey, who attends John Carroll Catholic School in Oklahoma City, qualified for the Hershey’s Track & Field Games North American Final after winning the Hershey’s Oklahoma State Meet June 28.
McKey, 12, had the fastest time in the region that consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. Hershey only accepts eight runners from North America.
McKey is a Catholic grade school champion and the first Catholic student to qualify for the North American final. She is also a Jim Thorpe Games 400-meter champion.
The North American final will run Aug. 2 in Hershey, Pa.
Former quarterback Bell has pedigree to dominate at tight end for Sooners
The question came quickly to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Are there any plans to use Blake Bell at quarterback — in some capacity?
“That’s funny, it keeps coming up,” Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. “Blake was recruited definitely as a quarterback. But when you look at him now after three years, he is the pro-type at tight end. He’s got great hands, great size. He can run. Natural spacing as far as where to be in his routes.”
So, the answer is no.
Smith ready to begin the next chapter with Ravens
During his long drive to Maryland from his North Carolina home Sunday, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith had plenty of time to think about an offseason defined by a dramatic change in his life.
After 13 years with the Carolina Panthers, Smith was cut in March following one of the least productive seasons of his career. The Ravens promptly signed him to a three-year, $11 million contract.
Smith remained in a reflective mood as veterans officially reported to camp Wednesday. Smith, however, showed up Monday eager for his new start.
Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint
The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.
Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff
It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
“It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”
Santa Fe alum McGreevy makes U.S. Amateur
OU’s Max McGreevy, an Edmond Santa Fe graduate, and University of Tulsa’s Logan McCracken qualified for the 2014 U.S. Amateur, the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) prestigious annual event featuring the world’s finest amateur golfers. This year’s championship will be held at the venerable Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) in Johns Creek, Aug. 9-17.
Max McGreevy, Edmond 67-65—132
Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City 69-66—135
1st Alt. Garrison Mendoza, Clinton 69-71—140
2nd Alt. Thomas Johnson, Norman 71-69—140
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