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Oklahoma State Softball

Karli Petty Runs into Her WCWS Moment with Blaster to Beat Arizona

June 2, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY – One by one the Arizona hitters walked away from home plate at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium whispering, not to themselves but to each other trying to pass on secrets to help the next Wildcat hitter to keep from becoming Cowgirls lefty Kelly Maxwell’s next strike out victim.

OSU Cowgirls Softball Twitter
Catcher Taylor Tuck congratulates Kelly Maxwell after a strike out to end an inning.

On the other side Hannah Bowen for Arizona wasn’t as overpowering, but just as successful. Her defense helped her out like in the bottom of the third when she walked nine-hole hitter Kiley Naomi to lead off the frame. The next hitter, leadoff batter Chelsea Alexander lined the ball to third baseman Izzy Pacho who made the alert catch and fired it across the diamond to double off Naomi.

The hitters gradually got their bats going and in a battle of subtle lead changes Oklahoma State was anything but subtle in the bottom of the sixth inning. It started with Miranda Elish leading off with a walk off Bowen. Then with that middle of the line-up tag team, Sydney Pennington hit the ball down the right field line and Paige Dimler bobbled it allowing Elish to go to third and Pennington to get to second. Dimler was charged with an error.

The next batter, second baseman Karli Petty hit her 12th home run of the season as the ball went out in dead center field for the three-run home run and the final statement of the night as the Cowgirls led 4-2 and they made it stand up as Maxwell closed out the top of the seventh with three more strike outs to put her total at 14 for the night and 55 for the NCAA Tournament.

“I came up to bat knwing with runners in scoring position that I at least had to put the ball in play,” Petty said. “I really focused on getting on top of the ball and driving it through the middle. That was the whole approach to the at bat.”

Maxwell said she nornally sits in the back of the dugour and doesn’t watch her teammates hit when she is pitching, but in the sixth inning down 2-1, she changed it up.

“I knew we had runners in scoring  position and I thought I would change the mojo so I came up to the front of the dugout and peaked through a crack,” Maxwell said. “i got to see Karli’s big hit and it was awesome. It gave me the chills.” 

How about this for chills, Oklahoma State head coach Kenny Gajewski said he contemplated, the staff did, pinch-hitting for Petty, who was 0-for-2 at that point.“i debated, to be honest, we talked about pinch-hitting,” Gajewski said of that moment in the sixth inngin. “I said let’s let her go. She just needs another at bat. Wow, it was big, it was big.”

OSU Cowgirls Softball Twitter
Elish after her double in the fourth inning.

The Cowgirls broke the scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning when designated player Miranda Elish, who had her sister in the other dugout playing for Arizona and her entire family at the game for the first time since her freshman year, hit a ball over the head of leftfielder Perezchica and came in standing up with a double. The next hitter Sydney Pennington found the gap in rightfield and Brianna Evans, pinch running for Elish scored easily. Pennington was thrown out trying for the double, but the damage was done. Cowgirls led 1-0.

I don’t know exactly who you credit, but I guess it’s leadoff hitter Janelle Meono, as she passed by Sharlize Palacios in the top of the fifth, shaking her head after the ninth strike out of the game for Maxwell. With Sophia Carroll on first after she hit a burner up the middle past Maxwell for a single, Palacios connected with a bomb that didn’t go far into the lower stands in left-center, but it was clearly hit well enough for the two-run homer run and a 2-1 Arizona lead.

OSU Cowgirls Softball Twitter
OSU players dropped some dirt from their field in Stillwater on the Hall of Fame diamond, but the crowd made it feel at home.

Oklahoma State had a huge chance to take the lead back in the bottom of the fifth as Taylor Tuck was hit by a Bowen pitch, Naomi drew a walk, and after Alexander struck  out Chyenne Factor walked to load the bases with two outs. Bowen quickly got Katelynn Carwille down 0-2 and then the Cowgirls right fielder flew out to Perezchica in left to kill the threat.

They would get that lead back in the sixth and for good. Oklahoma State now 47-12 takes Friday off and will play Florida (49-17), a 7-1 winner over Oregon State, in a winner’s bracket game on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The other winner’s bracket game is an all Big 12 affair between top-ranked Oklahoma (55-2) and Texas (44-19-1) that started the first day of the WCWS with a 7-2 upset win over UCLA. 

Three of the four teams on winner’s Saturday from the Big 12.

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Karli Petty Runs into Her WCWS Moment with Blaster to Beat Arizona

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