OXFORD, Alabama (KMID/KPEJ) – No. 1 Odessa College softball came back to beat No. 8 Butler Community College 5-1 in the second round of the NJCAA Tournament. The Wranglers fell behind 1-0 in the top of the fourth before powering past the Grizzlies in the bottom of the inning.
Odessa found themselves with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fourth after three scoreless innings. Designated player Michaella Baker smashed her 14th home run of the season for a go-ahead grand slam. Baker also homered in the Wranglers tournament opener Tuesday.
“Baker’s grand slam was beyond impressive. She went to the plate with a huge amount of confidence and it showed. I’m really glad to see her power be there when we need it the most,” head coach Jeff Jackson said.
Ariel Gomez slapped an RBI base hit in the same inning to give Odessa a 5-1 lead. The Wranglers held the Grizzlies at that score the rest of the way behind strong performances in the circle by Rayna Cruickshanks and Emily Brouse.
Cruickshanks got the start for the second day in a row and dominated Butler through her outing, striking out 10 batters and allowing just one run and two hits in five innings. Brouse earned the save, pitching two scoreless innings.
“This is where the grind really starts. Every at-bat is tough and every pitch means so much. I have a lot of confidence that we have what it takes to win every game… but I won’t walk away from a 4-leaf clover if I run across one,” Jackson said.
The top-seeded Wranglers advance to the NJCAA Tournament quarterfinals to face No. 5 Northwest Florida State Wednesday at 10 a.m.