2014 OC softball team does a rewrite job on program’s record book

Martha Thomas broke or tied six single-game, single-season or career school records this season.
Martha Thomas broke or tied six single-game, single-season or career school records this season.

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 28, 2014) – Considering Oklahoma Christian had one of its best softball seasons ever in the 20-year history of the program, it shouldn’t be surprising the Lady Eagles’ record book has numerous new entries after the 2014 campaign.

All told, the Lady Eagles broke or tied 15 team or individual marks as they finished 42-16 and earned National Christian College Athletic Association runner-up honors, falling in the national tournament’s championship round to Shorter (Ga.).

In the team category, OC tied the program record for wins in a season, matching the 42 wins posted by both the 1996 and 1998 squads. With a .724 winning percentage, the Lady Eagles narrowly missed setting a mark in that category, trailing only the 2002 squad, which went 37-14 for a .725 winning percentage.

A 13-game winning streak – which started with a win on April 13 at NCAA Division II No. 3-ranked St. Mary’s (Texas) and didn’t end until the final day of the season against Shorter – matched the program’s best. OC also won 13 straight games during the 1998, 2003 and 2011 seasons.

The Lady Eagles also set a program record for runs in a game with a 23-0 win over Hillsdale Baptist during the NCCAA Central Region tournament on May 8. The previous record had been set in a 20-0 rout of Southwestern Oklahoma State in 1998.

Three Lady Eagles – Martha Thomas, Kendra Pierce and Kala Ratliff – also tied or set individual offensive records.

Thomas, a senior catcher from North Richland Hills, Texas, did the most damage, breaking five marks and tying another. Thomas set single-season (.536) and career (.512) records in on-base percentage, surpassing the marks set by Becky Gault. Gault had a .504 on-base percentage in 1995 and a career mark of .457 from 1995-1998.

Thomas also set single-season (.812) and career (.791) records for slugging percentage. Thomas had already held the single-season mark of .764, set last season, and snapped the career mark of .650, set by Rebecca Robinett Cobb from 1996 to 2000. Thomas’ career .401 batting average ranks her third on the OC list behind Christin Dobbs (.420) and OC Athletic Hall of Famer Amy Vanderpool (.403).

Thomas’ 13 home runs this season tied the OC mark set by Kayla Jennings in 2012. Thomas’ four walks against Southern Nazarene in a 9-8 win on March 25 set a new record in that category, snapping the record of three held by several Lady Eagles, most recently Allissa Harper and Angie Plowman, who each walked three times against Rogers State on April 10, 2007.

With her five runs against Hillsdale Baptist, Pierce, a junior shortstop from Oklahoma City, broke the single-game record in that category, first set when Plowman scored four times against Southern Nazarene on March 24, 2007.

Pierce also had five hits against Hillsdale Baptist, while Ratliff, a senior third baseman from Yukon, also had five in a 13-12 loss to then-No. 21-ranked Emporia State (Kan.) on March 6. They tied four other Lady Eagles who have had five hits in a game – Karen Gault, against East Central on March 28, 1995; Rachel Seeber, against Southwestern Oklahoma State on Feb. 14, 2006; Dobbs, against Southern Nazarene on March 3, 2009; and Deidre Chatigny, against Southern Nazarene on April 10, 2010.

Freshman pitcher Shea Coats of Tuttle also broke or tied four school records. With a 24-4 record, Coats’ winning percentage of .857 snapped the record of .833, set by OC Athletic Hall of Famer Leah Carrell when she finished 20-4 in 1998.

Coats also recorded 21 straight winning decisions, establishing another mark. Her six saves broke the single-season record of five, previously held by Sophia McKeen (2009) and Ashley Paxton (2012), and matched Paxton’s career record of six (set in 2011-2012).

With 24 wins and 11 shutouts, Coats just missed matching Carrell’s single-season marks in those categories. Carrell won 25 games in 2001 and threw 12 shutouts in 2000.

Four of OC’s losses came to teams that won national titles – West Texas A&M, which took the NCAA Division II crown by beating Valdosta State (Ga.) 3-2 on Monday, swept OC on Feb. 18, while Shorter did the same on May 17 in the NCCAA tournament’s championship round. Shorter beat Valdosta State in two out of three regular-season meetings between those two teams.