Softball season comes to an end
UW shocks OSU in the seventh inning of season finale; Beavers say goodbye to two seniors
Published: Monday, May 16, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
After a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 win over University of Washington on Friday, the Oregon State University softball team fell late Saturday in a heartbreaking loss to end the season.It was a 4-1 lead for the Beavers (19-28, 2-19) heading into the top of the seventh inning against Washington (34-14, 9-12). OSU was seeking its first back-to-back Pac-10 wins of the season in its last game of the year. After a bases loaded walk from OSU sophomore pitcher Tina Andreana to make it a 4-2 game, a bases-clearing double by junior first baseman Niki Williams cleared the bases to give the Huskies a 5-4 lead.
The Beavers made an effort to come back in the bottom of the seventh, but a double play on a line drive by catcher Ally Kutz ended the game - and the season.
"We dominated the day on our terms," said head coach Kirk Walker. "(Washington's) got a great team. They came up with some timely hits that they hadn't been getting and put the pressure on us. And that's what top-20 teams do. It's a loss. Is it going to be one that sticks in my craw? Not nearly as much as some of the other ones we've had this year that we let get away."
Oregon State experienced a positive turnaround over its last two games at the plate. In its five games before Friday, the offense had only been able to produce a single run, and averaged three hits per game. Friday and Saturday were much different stories. The Beavers put up eight runs and 21 hits over their final two games.
A lot of the offensive success can be attributed to a team meeting after Thursday's 6-1 loss.
"The biggest thing we talked about after Thursday's game - we had quite a long meeting - we kind of went back to the team standards that they had established," Walker said. "We wanted to hear from them and find out why they weren't achieving those things. They were all things they should have been able to achieve whether they were winning or losing, and it was a really good conversation."
One of the words Walker frequently mentioned was "secure". Once the offense felt they were secure with themselves instead of relying on others, their performance improved greatly in the batter's box.
"We had a really good talk Thursday after our game," senior outfielder Audrey Roderfeld said. "It wasn't just, 'do it for the seniors', it was totally like: end of the season, nothing to lose, let's just swing our bats and see what happens. And we showed it on the scoreboard."
This was Roderfeld's last game in the orange and black. Saturday was Senior Day, and the two seniors, Roderfeld and outfielder McKenna Lowe, were honored before and after the game.
"I'm sad that this is my last game here, but at the same time, I'm happy to move on and get my real life started," Roderfeld said.
Both seniors played big parts in the offensive success in the last two games of the year. Roderfeld blasted a game-tying solo homerun in Friday's win, and went 2-for-4 with an RBI Saturday. Lowe went 1-for-3 in both games with a run scored Friday.
"They've obviously been a part of so much of the program for four years," Walker said of the seniors. "They've always just been really passionate about this program and came in wanting to do so much for it. Unfortunately, us not being able to go to postseason for them this year was certainly disappointing but they've been really great Beaver players and done a lot for the program."
For the younger players, they are losing veteran presence in the dugout from two players who had been there for four years.
"They're definitely a big part of our team, and hopefully the freshmen coming next year can fill in their shoes," sophomore centerfielder Lea Cavestany said. "We're definitely going to miss them for the next (few) years."
The good thing for the Beavers is that they're only losing two seniors. They're still quite a young team heading into next year. If this weekend was any indication of what they can do, there are many positives to be seen in the future.
"I think the one thing that they'll also take from today, or just the end of the season here, has been that both Paige (Hall) and Tina (Andreana) really have a whole new level of potential of confidence about how they can compete in this conference."
The junior Hall and sophomore Andreana are the team's top two pitchers. They have gone through the ups and downs of Pac-10 play this year, and given the team's record, pitched very well. With those two improving more going into next year, and the continued maturation of the offense, the Beavers could be back to winning ways as soon as 2012.
"I hope we can definitely carry what we brought today and continue with it into next season and through the fall to keep working hard on what we want to do," Cavestany said. "And that's a national championship for next year."
Warner Strausbaugh, sports writer