East Central softball team splits pair Monday in Edmond

Members of the 2019 East Central University softball team include, from left to right: (front row) Kaytlyn Kizarr, Mariah Ewy, Aundrea Hamric, Peyton Newman, Paige Leschber, Sable Hankins, Catherine Barrera, Ellanee Allison and Bridget Gleason; (back row) Emma Barr, Chloe Wigington, Tatiana Bryant, Demi Danell, Megan Lesko, Jacey Henry, Jessica Sisemore, Tarah Hilton, Breecia Crawford and Caitlin Kneblik.

EDMOND — East Central won its first game of the season Monday, edging Washburn 4-3 at the Raising Cane’s Softball Festival. The Tigers then wrapped up festival play with a 7-0 loss to the University of Central Oklahoma.

East Central, now 1-4, is scheduled to play at home for the first time at 1 p.m. today when Newman visits for a doubleheader. According to the ECU sports information department, those contests could be rescheduled due to wet field conditions.

ECU 4, Washburn 3

The Ichabods (2-8) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second after Emilee Baker drove in Taylor Kirk who led off the inning with a triple to center field. Winter Henry walked and then would score on a ground out by Halle England.

The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the second.

Kaytlyn Kizarr led off with a single and went to second on a one-out base hit by Aundrea Hamric. An infield single by Jacey Henry loaded the bases.

Catherine Barrera walked to force in a run to make it 2-1, but Washburn pitcher Megan Deiter avoided further damage when she got back-to-back popups on the infield.

In the third inning, Samantha Dutton led off the frame with a double and scored on an RBI single from Savannah Moore to put Washburn ahead 3-1.

ECU tied the game at 3-3 with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Mariah Ewy came up with a clutch, two-RBI single in the frame.

The Tigers scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the bottom of the fifth when Henry reached on an error and scored on an RBI hit by Barrera.

In the top of the seventh, the Ichabods left the bases loaded and Washburn stranded 10 total base runners in the game.

Henry earned the pitching win. She struck out three, walked six and allowed seven hits in the complete-game effort.

Barrera led the ECU offense, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base. Roff High School product Breecia Crawford walked three times for the locals.

Moore and Dutton each had two hits to lead the Ichabods.

Central Oklahoma 7, ECU 0

Sydney McLeod threw a complete-game shutout and surging Central Oklahoma blanked East Central.

Hazel Puempel went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in for the Bronchos, who finished 5-0 in the three-day festival in improving to 9-1 on the season. UCO’s potent offense hit .420 in the five games, led by Puempel’s sizzling .625 average (10-for-16).

The Bronchos finished with 11 hits against ECU, with Puempel, Bailey Thompson, Carli Jones and Brighton Gilbert collecting two apiece.

McLeod scattered eight hits and walked just one in throwing her second complete game. She went 3-0 with a 0.44 earned run average in the festival.

Central snapped a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of runs. Gilbert led off with a single to left field and scored on Thompson’s one-out triple to left-center, with the speedy Gilbert racing home on Halley Randolph’s fly ball to short right field.

The Bronchos made it 4-0 in the fourth on Gilbert’s sacrifice fly and Puempel’s RBI single, then finished the scoring with three more runs in the fifth.

Casady Webb started a two-out rally in that inning with a single up the middle and Gilbert followed with an infield single before both scored on Puempel’s bloop double to left field. Thompson’s run-scoring single through the right side made it 7-0.

Tarah Hilton, Bridget Gleason and Kaytlyn Kizarr all had two hits each to pace the Tigers at the plate.

ECU starting pitcher Caitlin Kneblik absorbed the loss. She struck out one and walked three in 4.2 innings of work.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.