No. 4 Rogers State softball (53-10) claimed their first ever NCAA Division II Softball Regional Championship with an offensive explosion of 12-1 to down No. 8 Central Oklahoma (48-13) on Friday. This is RSU’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
“I’m speechless after this game,” said Head Coach Andrea Vaughan. “We have been talking about [getting to the Softball Championship] since the Fall when this team got to campus in August. We have kept this in front of them as a goal all season, knowing we have everything we needed to get here. “I woke up this morning thinking about hard it was to do what we’ve done to get here,” continued Vaughan. “It’s a grind day in and day out to stay committed to the things outside of the game, with practices and other things. That’s what I was thinking about when we were on the field celebrating. We worked hard for this; it did not come easy and we’ve stayed committed to the process. I’m am so proud of our team.”
Just like in game one, the Bronchos jumped out first with a single and a stolen base to put a runner on second with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Facing a 2-2 count, UCO drove in the game’s first run with a RBI double to center giving them an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, the Hillcats responded with a fury as Makayla Bowman led off the frame with a double down the right field line. Elexis Watson put RSU on top as she launched a two-run blast over the left field wall, plating Bowman. After Jaylan Gibson singled to right and Kimberli Presnell walked, Chelsea Spain uncorked on a towering three-run long ball to straight away center. Abbey Rogers got in on the home run fun as she dropped a solo homer in left center.
Later in the inning, Watson logged her third RBI on the frame with a single to third that scored Bridgett Morales. Gibson brought in Bowman with a RBI single to center. Spain capped off the nine-run inning with a RBI fielder’s choice that scored Watson to put the Hillcats up 9-1. RSU added another run in the top of the fourth to go up 10-1. Spain notched her fifth RBI of the day as she drove in Gibson with a fielder’s choice.
The Hillcats tacked on two final runs in the top of the fifth to seal the 12-1 run. Watson plated Natalie Gonzalez with a RBI fielder’s choice and Gibson brought in Morales with a RBI single to left. Andrea Morales (34-4) earned the complete game win only allowing one run on five hits in 5.0 innings. Kylee Lynch (26-5) took the loss. With their ticket punched to the Division II World Series, the Hillcats will now wait to find out their first round opponent as the championship tournament begins on Thursday, May 26 in Denver, Colo. at The Regency Athletic Complex.
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