When pitchers are throwing strikes, it just seems to make everything better; the defense stays alert and makes big plays and the offense doesn’t always need a huge outing to help garner a win.
Friday for the second straight day at McMahon Field, Cameron’s fast-pitch softball team used that recipe to forge a 3-game sweep of Texas A&M-International, closing out the series with a 1-0 victory behind the pitching of junior Jocelyn Bright.
Bright, from Burkburnett, limited the Dustdevils to just three hits while working around four walks and using eight strikeouts and some great catches in the outfield from her teammates to hold the Texas crew in check.
The Aggies climbed to 21-12 with the sweep which ties them with Oklahoma Christian for fourth in the Lone Star Conference standings. UT-Tyler leads the pack at 25-2, West Texas is second at 26-4, and Lubbock Christian is third at 22-11.
And ironically the Aggies will be heading to Lubbock this weekend for a critical series starting Tuesday with the Lady Chaps with a 3 p.m. single game followed by a doubleheader at noon on Wednesday.
First-year head coach Emma Johansen was happy but not overconfident.
“We’ve been getting good work in the circle and we’ve been able to play good defense,” she said. “Today we go out and get seven hits but just weren’t able to get another run or two across. That has been something that has happened at times but we’ve overcome that with our pitching and defense.”
Friday the Aggies got their lone run before some fans had even reached their seats.
Khmari Edwards singled up the middle, stayed at first on an infield popup and moved to second when Kaiden Boren singled. A ground ball turned into the second out and that put the pressure on Josie Swafford who came through, hitting a shot down the line in right allowing Boren to score.
So, how has the young head coach molded this group of holdovers and transfers together?
“The first thing I told them when we first got the entire group together was that I was all in and I wanted them to do the same,” she said. “We talked about having a winning attitude at every practice, on every pitch, at every game and they have been fantastic about doing that.”
She said that the chemistry came fairly easy.
“We do have a big group of seniors who know what it takes to be competitive in this league and that has never been an issue,” she said. “We’re going to have to hit the road now and hopefully we can get our offense clicking a little better and see what we can get done.”
And with the three solid pitching efforts from Swafford, Robyn Bales and then Friday from Bright, the coach is happy with that aspect.
“I have a great deal of experience in this staff and I’m confidence they can keep us in games,” she said. “We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and see how this all turns out.”
The LSC Tournament will be held May 3-4-5 at the home of the regular-season champion and will feature the top 10 teams in the conference. For now, the Aggies are in great position but the results at Lubbock will be important and then a home series with Angelo State March 21 and 22 may be the one that really sets up the Aggies to seal their spot.
While all the action on the field is happening, the young head coach is working hard at recruiting, a never-ending job these days.
“It’s been tough getting to see many players mainly because Oklahoma has fall fast-pitch and at that time we were just trying to get our group ready,” she said. “I’ve been checking a good deal of juco video and just trying to get as much information as possible.
“One thing is certain, I want to go out and get the best local and regional players I can get; we want these Southwest Oklahoma players.”