STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Picking up another in a long line of milestones in her historical career, St. Mary’s softball coach Donna Fields got her 600th career win Tuesday afternoon.
And the Lady Rattlers weren’t about to let Fields wait long for No. 601.
Hours after topping Tarleton State 6-3 to get Fields her milestone win, St. Mary’s blasted four home runs to rout the TexAnns 15-6 in five innings in the back end of a doubleheader at the Tarleton State Softball Complex.
For Fields, the day only served to punctuate a milestone-filled career that has seen her produce national championships as a player (1986 – NAIA) and coach (2002 – NCAA Division II). She is the only person in St. Mary’s history to achieve both honors. Fields is 601-244 in 14 years at St. Mary’s, having won nine conference titles and three regional titles to go along with a national crown over the past 10 seasons alone.
In Game 1, St. Mary’s (31-25) trailed 3-2 after one inning, only to score three runs in the second to regain the lead. A sixth-inning insurance run helped put the game out of reach for the TexAnns (17-21-1), and in turn assured Fields her 600th win.
Leftfielder Lauren Miller (Sr., Baytown, Texas) and catcher Kelly Baker (Sr., Arlington, Texas) each had two RBIs on the day, while right fielder Shelly Lee (So., San Antonio) also drove in a run. Ace Emily Brittain went the distance to improve to 19-7 on the season, striking out one and scattering seven hits and yielding one earned run over seven innings.
The Rattlers didn’t need nearly as long to put away Game 2.
Baker, shortstop Richelle Morales (Jr., San Antonio), third baseman Chelsea Wenske (Sr., Victoria, Texas) and first baseman Jared Gonzalez (So., San Antonio) all homered in the first inning alone, propelling the Rattlers to a gargantuan 10-0 first-inning lead.
Gonzalez, Baker and Morales all finished with three RBIs in the game.
By the second inning, St. Mary’s was up 15-1, leaving little doubt about Fields’ 601st career win – and the surging state the Rattlers find themselves in these days.
St. Mary’s has won 10 of its last 11, and recently took over part of first place in the Heartland Conference standings.
Now comes the fun part – trying to close the deal on another Heartland Conference crown and, potentially, another regional run.
St. Mary’s will close out the home portion of its schedule with a three-game series against St. Edward’s this weekend. A doubleheader edition of “Battle of the Saints” will begin at 5 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Softball Fields, with the series coming to a close with “Senior Day” at 12 p.m. Saturday.
No. 600 is now behind the Rattlers. With any luck, numbers 602, 603 and beyond won’t be far behind.