For college students, especially athletes, sometimes home suddenly sounds good and for Cameron University softball coach Emma Johansen that mindset from a couple of senior pitchers is just what the program needed.
Thursday afternoon senior Josie Swafford pitched a 5-hit shutout while fanning five to lead the Aggies to a tense 1-0 victory over Lone Star Conference foe Texas A&M-International in Game 1 at McMahon Field.
Then the Wellston native helped out at the plate in the second game with her bat. After a one-out Taylor Rowley homer got the Aggies a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Kaiden Boren doubled to right-center. After a fly ball out, Swafford ripped a screamer down the right-field line that Devil’s first baseman couldn’t handle the hard-hit ball and it rolled to the fence, allowing Boren to score.
That was all senior righthander Robyn Bales needed as she scattered four hits, allowed one earned run, walked three and fanned eight in pitching the Aggies to a 4-1 win in Game 2.
With the sweep the Aggies climbed to 20-12 in Lone Star Conference action and 24-16 overall. That leaves them in fifth place in the standings heading into today’s 1 p.m. finale against the Dustdevils.
Swafford, a lefty didn’t hesitate when asked how she ended up at Cameron.
“To be totally honest, I just wanted to be closer to my family from Wellston,” she said. “I had been to North Carolina (UNC-Charlotte) and then to a junior college (Des Moines CC) and at that point I decided I wanted to get closer to home. I started checking around and Cameron had a good program so that’s why I ended up here. EJ (Coach Johansen) has really built a good chemistry with this bunch and she brings a great deal of energy and confidence to the team.”
Swafford will graduate in May with a degree in animal science but the only job description she is following is simple, “I want a job where I don’t have to sit at a desk.”
The southpaw was mainly sticking with her fastball, changeup and drop to get out Dustdevils’ hitters.
“I probably go about 62 on my fastball and when I come off and throw the change-up it is normally getting in there about 54,” she said. “My deal is I don’t do a lot of preparing mentally for a game. I put on some country music and just relax and let myself drift away and not get to wrapped up in outside forces.”
Swafford got the only run she and the Aggies would need with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second. Kelsey Loughman ripped a single right through the middle of the infield then scored when Ashlynn Bruce tripled down the line in right to get the key run home.
For Bales it was getting closer to her Elk City home that lured her to Cameron after time at Arkansas Tech.
Bales said her assortment of pitches is similar to many others.
“I mainly throw the drop, rise, curve and a fastball with a changeup,” she said. “I played with the Oklahoma Athletics program and they alway have a good bunch. I’m just happy to be here closer to my family where they can see more of my games.”
As far as her future plans? “My degree is going to be in accounting but my goal is to be a college coach if that works out,” she said with a big grin.
In other words, two future Cameron softball grads are eager to get that degree but neither seems intent on sitting behind a desk.