Written by Travis Gupton and Grant Stewart
The Lady Bisons extended their GAC record to 27 consecutive wins following four weekend wins against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU) and two games on Tuesday, April 4, against Arkansas Tech University.
The first game against SEOSU on Friday, March 31, was a pitchers’ duel, as scoring was scarce. In the fourth inning, the Savage Storm scored first with a home run from third baseman Destiny Riddle. The Lady Bisons tied the game in the sixth inning with an RBI single from freshman catcher Katie Carney. After seven innings, the game was tied 1-1, leading senior outfielder Courtney Derrick to knock in junior outfielder Madi Trump to win the game in the extra inning.
In the second game of the same day, the Savage Storm struck early in the first inning with two runs, which were their only runs of the game. The Lady Bisons struck back with seven unanswered runs and took the game 7-2. Sophomore shortstop Alexus Lawellin led the Lady Bisons with three of their 10 hits.
On Saturday, April 1, the Lady Bisons beat the Savage Storm 4-3 after 12 innings. The battle of wills picked up in the top of the 11th when the Savage Storm broke the 1-1 tie. In the bottom of the 11th, senior catcher Kimmy Hendricks-Campbell picked up an RBI with a single, allowing Derrick to run home. In the 12th, the Savage Storm retook the lead, but the Lady Bisons answered in the bottom of the same inning when Derrick hit an RBI single, and freshman pitcher Autumn Humes returned the favor to single in Derrick for the winning run.
In the final game of the series, the Lady Bisons mercy ruled the Savage Storm in six innings, with a final score of 8-0 and earned their 14th shutout this season, according to Harding Sports. Humes was the winning pitcher, moving to 15-1 this season.
Hendricks-Campbell said this series was especially meaningful to the team.
“The games against (SEOSU) were the kind you live for in this sport,” Hendricks-Campbell said. “Each game was a battle and tested the resiliency of our team, and in the end, we came out on top and grew through it.”
On Tuesday, April 4, the Lady Bisons picked up two more wins in Russellville, Arkansas against the Arkansas Tech University Golden Suns. The Lady Bisons won the first game 4-3 after nine innings. Hendricks-Campell picked up the game winning RBI with a double that sent sophomore outfielder Peyton Mills home from second base.
Later that day, Harding picked up their second win against the Golden Suns 1-0. Trump’s single knocked in senior outfielder Brookelynn Moon, earning Trump her 21st RBI of the season, according to Harding Sports. Humes extended her season to 17-1 after allowing only one hit and delivering 10 strikeouts.
Hendricks-Campbell stressed the importance of teamwork throughout this series against the Golden Suns.
“It’s always fun playing Tech,” Hendricks-Campbell said. “We knew they had a great pitcher in Jalissa Gum, but we stayed within ourselves and took what the game gave us. Something great about our team is that each player on the field has the others’ backs, and we really took this characteristic to the games at Tech.”
The Lady Bisons’ hot streak has not gone unnoticed. The NCAA advanced the Lady Bisons the No. 1 spot in their Division II power rankings, and the Lady Bisons climbed two spots to No. 4 in the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Poll, according to Harding Sports.
Hendricks-Campbell said she felt like this year, her senior season, was a culmination of what the team had been working toward for so long, and she has hope for the team after their last at-bat this season.
“I do not have a set image of what I would want the end of the season to look like; it is more of a feeling. A feeling of knowing that we gave all that we had to give. I believe this team will do that,” Hendricks-Campbell said.
Coach Phil Berry said that even with the success, his strategy remains unchanged.
“We are trying to focus on the next game, the next pitch,” Berry said.
That next pitch will occur on Friday, April 7, when the Lady Bisons take on the East Central University Tigers in Ada, Oklahoma.