OCU softball claims 10th national championship

OCU Sports
Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

CLERMONT, Fla. – Top-ranked Oklahoma City University secured its second consecutive national championship and 10th title in program history with a 4-1 victory over Corban (Ore.) on Thursday at Legends Way Ballfields in the NAIA Softball World Series.

Georgia Wall scattered 10 hits and a walk and allowed one run, while Madison Ellis belted a home run to subdue 14th-ranked Corban. Oklahoma City (68-1) boasts of national crowns won in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2016 and 2017.

The Stars racked up 68 wins to fall one win shy of equaling OCU’s 1999 team for the most wins in program and NAIA history with 69. OCU reached the national final for the 15th time and improved its NAIA-record number of World Series victories to 124.

Phil McSpadden moved his coaching record to 1,613-367 in 30 years as Oklahoma City coach. McSpadden notched his 1,600th career win 7-1 over USAO on April 25 in Chickasha, Okla. McSpadden leads college softball in wins vs. four-year competition.

OCU ran its winning streak against NAIA competition to 73. The Stars’ lone loss of the season came 7-3 on April 18 at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas. West Texas A&M was ranked sixth in NCAA Division II at the time. OCU started the season 47-0 and set an NAIA record with a 52-game win streak.

“This was a very special group,” McSpadden said. “They’re a very competitive and resilient group.”

The Stars finished 2016-17 with four national championships. OCU also took national titles in competitive cheerleading, women’s basketball and women’s golf for 66 national championships in all sports.

Wall garnered tournament most valuable player for the second consecutive year. She became the third two-time World Series MVP in NAIA history, joining Rhonda Clark of Emporia State (Kan.) in 1983-84 and Cassie Daniels from Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) in 2014-15. Wall, a sophomore from Marlow, Okla., moved her record to 33-0 and career mark to 61-1.

Wall worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning. After Paige Martin reached on an infield single and Raimee Sluder had a bunt hit, Wall struck out pinch hitter Chaleigh Kirkwood and retired Taylor Eilders on a groundout to second base.

Wall went 4-0 with a 0.25 earned run average, four complete games, two shutouts and one earned run allowed in 28 innings in this year’s World Series. In World Series play, Wall improved to 10-1 with a 0.47 ERA, 10 complete games and four whitewashes in 74 innings in her career. Wall helped OCU set the tournament record for ERA, beating the Stars’ 0.32 ERA in 2012.

“What I was so impressed with was, against the second-best team in the country, she didn’t have her best stuff, and found a way to beat them twice,” said McSpadden about Wall.

The Stars’ McRae Cayton, Laci Joyner and Jaci Smith snared all-tournament nods. In the first inning, Smith smacked a double, and Madison Ellis followed with a single. Cayton drove in OCU’s first run with a base hit past Iris Rodriguez at shortstop. Ellis scored on Joyner’s bunt as the Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first.

In the fifth, Cayton hammered a leadoff triple off the left-center field fence. Cayton scored on Joyner’s sacrifice fly to center. Ellis launched her 19th home run of the season beyond the left-field fence at the start of the seventh.

“Our M.O. all season has been try to score early and hang on,” McSpadden said.

Cayton, a senior from Irvine, Calif., went 5-for-12 for a .412 average in the World Series. Cayton was 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI on Thursday.

Joyner, a junior from Mustang, Okla., turned in a 3-for-10 performance with a team-best five RBIs in the World Series. Joyner brought in two runs in the title-clinching win against Corban.

Smith, a sophomore from Godley, Texas, led the Stars with a .500 average (7-for-14) in the tournament. Smith went 3-for-4 with a run scored in the title game. Kali Pugh, a senior from Vista, Calif., had a 2-for-4 game, while Ellis, a senior from Yukon, Okla., went 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in a run.

Corban (46-13) had three all-tournament selections with Aby Brambila, Jessie Isham and Raimee Sluder. Sam Woodley had an RBI single in the fifth for Corban’s run.

2017 All-World Series Team
Carly Spalding, Columbia (Mo.)
Paxton Welch, Columbia (Mo.)
Sabrina Boyd, Corban (Ore.)
Raimee Sluder, Corban (Ore.)
Jessie Isham, Corban (Ore.)
Aby Brambila, Davenport (Mich.)
Victoria Boyer, Indiana Wesleyan
Marci West, LSU Alexandria (La.)
Gabbie Andrepont, LSU Alexandria (La.)
Riley Cripe, Marian (Ind.)
Laci Joyner, Oklahoma City
McRae Cayton, Oklahoma City
Jaci Smith, Oklahoma City
Molli Morgan, Ottawa (Kan.)
Aaliyah Oliver, Southern Oregon
Chantel Crockett, Warner (Fla.)

Most Valuable Player: Georgia Wall, Oklahoma City


NAIA Softball World Series

At Clermont, Fla.
Legends Way Ballfields
All Times CDT
Friday’s Results
Ottawa (Kan.) 4, Warner (Fla.) 2
Southern Oregon 4, Indiana Wesleyan 3
LSU-Alexandria 4, Davenport (Mich.) 0
Corban (Ore.) 6, Marian (Ind.) 3

Saturday’s Results
Davenport 3, Indiana Wesleyan 2, Indiana Wesleyan eliminated
Warner 6, Marian 3, Marian eliminated
Columbia (Mo.) 2, Ottawa 1, 8 inn.
Oklahoma City 4, Southern Oregon 0

Monday’s Results
Davenport 4, Ottawa 0, Ottawa eliminated
Southern Oregon 4, Warner 3, Warner eliminated
Oklahoma City 2, LSU-Alexandria 1
Corban 5, Columbia

Tuesday’s Results
LSU-Alexandria 2, Davenport 0, Davenport eliminated
Columbia 5, Southern Oregon 2, Southern Oregon eliminated
Oklahoma City 2, Corban 0

Thursday’s Results
LSU-Alexandria 6, Columbia 4, Columbia eliminated
Corban 4, LSU-Alexandria 2, LSU-Alexandria eliminated
Oklahoma City 4, Corban 1, championship

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