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Grand slam after 15-minute review delay downs Lopers

Shelby Berglund
Lauryn Haggadone pitches against Newman during UNK’s doubleheader on April 19.

After a 15-minute stoppage of play to determine if UNK could challenge a ruling on the field, the No. 6 Central Oklahoma softball team hit a go-ahead grand slam to down the Lopers, 6-5, and secure a sweep in Saturday’s doubleheader.

The replay was initiated by UNK coach Katie Ackermann after a safe call was made at second base to load the bases in Central Oklahoma’s top of the sixth inning with UNK leading, 5-2.

“I was just doing anything I could to give the girls an opportunity,” Ackermann said. “Hindsight is that it is not a reviewable play.”

The play in question came when UNK second baseman Rylyn Nelson fielded a ground ball and flipped to shortstop Mary Chvatal, who was covering second base. The ball fell out of Chvatal’s glove and it was ruled that she did not field the throw cleanly, rather than losing it on the transfer. This meant the runner on second was safe and the bases were now loaded with no outs.

This led to Ackermann challenging that the ball came out on the transfer after being fielded cleanly, leading to the subsequent delay. Eventually, after umpires spent time on the phone with officials, it was ruled that the play was a judgement call, not a timing play, and could not be reviewed.

Central Oklahoma’s Tatum Long stepped up as the next batter and hit a grand slam to straight away centerfield to give Central Oklahoma the lead for the first time in the contest, 6-5. UNK issued another challenge to see if Long missed stepping on first base. Replay confirmed she stepped on the base and all four runs counted. The inning ended with Central Oklahoma plating five runs.

UNK got two more chances in the bottom of the sixth and seventh. However, Central Oklahoma pitcher Shelby Beard retired the final six Loper batters without surrendering a hit to close out the, 6-2, Central Oklahoma victory.

In the loss, freshman pitcher Lauryn Haggadone had her best outing of the season. She went 5.0 innings allowing eight hits and three earned runs while striking out one and walking none.

“She proved she can hang with just about anybody,” Ackermann said. “It gives us a good sight for the future that she can hang with the No. 6 team in the country.”

With the win, the Bronchos swept the Lopers in UNK’s final home doubleheader of the season. Defeating the Lopers, 11-0, in five innings in game one earlier in the afternoon. UNK also split with Newman on Friday to begin the weekend.

The top 10 teams in the MIAA make the tournament and UNK now trails the No. 10 team in the conference, Fort Hays State, by three games entering the final week of the season.

“We just got to be excited to go to the yard and be excited to practice with each other,” Ackermann said. “Just be ready to play the other team in the dugout and not worry about the uniform that’s on their back.”

The Loper’s final two doubleheaders of the season will take them to Oklahoma. Where they will take on the No. 8 team in the country in Rogers State beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday in Claremore. Then, the regular season will conclude against Northeastern State beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday in Tahlequah.

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About the Contributors
Traeton Harimon
Traeton Harimon, Sports Editor
Shelby Berglund
Shelby Berglund, Photography Editor
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