OKLAHOMA CITY—The Central Christian College softball team wrapped up their season under first year head coach, Aaron Annis, by playing in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday and Friday.
The format for the tournament included two pools of four teams, with the winner of each pool to meet in the championship game. The Tigers made it into the tournament as the eighth seed, and were placed in a pool with Oklahoma City University, the top seed, Southwestern Assemblies of God University, seeded fourth, and Mid America Christian University, the tournament's fifth seed.
The Tigers opened pool play on Thursday evening with a 20-0 loss to the OCU Stars. The Stars are the defending NAIA national champions, and they quickly showed why. They saw the ball well at the plate, scoring their 20 runs by pounding out 20 hits. They scored multiple runs in every inning but the second inning. The Stars were just as dominant in the field, as their starting pitcher threw a one hit shutout, with eight of the 15 outs recorded as strikeouts.
The Tigers played their second game in pool play against the MACU Evangels on Friday morning. The Evangels also saw the ball well from the dish, scoring 10 runs on 15 hits. For the Tiger offense, they doubled their hit total from the day before, but it only resulted in a single run. The two hits were singles by Kasi Kraus and Taylor Bourne, and the lone run was scored by Kraus on a double steal. The Evangels opened the game with a run in the top of the first inning, and the Tigers answered with their run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at one. From there though, it was all MACU, as they scored nine unanswered runs to win 10-1.
The Tigers' final game of the tournament, against the SAGU Lions, was their best, at least from a defensive standpoint. With Kasi Kraus in the circle for the last time in a Tiger uniform, they held the Lions to just three runs on six hits. Unfortunately although they had four hits in the game on the offensive side, they stranded five runners on base, and were unable to score any runs. Kraus led the Tiger offense with a pair of doubles on three attempts, but each time she was left stranded on base. The other two hits for the Tigers were of the single variety, off the bats of Morgan Hildebrandt, and Taelyn Pagel.
Kraus and Hildebrandt started their career together back in 2015. Their first game as Tigers was against the MACU Evangels on Feb. 19th. They both started that game, Kraus in the circle, and Hildebrandt out in left field. Kraus went one for two that day, with a single, while Hildebrandt was in the Flex position, playing the field, but not in the batting order. They finished their careers the way they came in, Kraus in the circle, and Hildebrandt patrolling left field, and this time they both came through with a hit.
"Today we played as a team," said Coach Annis." In our final game vs SAGU we played a full game and didn't give up. I'm going to miss my two seniors but I'm excited for the future of this program."