San Antonio – St. Mary’s softball players were all smiles Wednesday evening, and understandably so.
They had just beaten – pummeled, really – what they thought was the second-ranked team in the nation.
Imagine the looks on the Lady Rattlers’ faces when they learned their opponent, Angelo State, had actually moved up to No. 1 in the country hours before Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Yes, St. Mary’s took it to the nation’s best team, stunning the Rambelles in an 8-0, run-rule victory at St. Mary’s Softball Fields.
“I knew they were No. 2; I didn’t know they are No. 1,” said senior catcher Kelly Baker of Angelo State, which took over the top spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll. “That’s a nice little surprise. It feels good to beat the No. 1 team in the nation.”
Hours before topping Angelo State, the Rattlers saw the Rambelles flex their muscle by coming back from a one-run deficit in the seventh to win 10-3. Aided by five St. Mary’s errors and a controversial illegal-pitch call in the inning, Angelo State scored eight runs in the frame to pull out of a 3-2 hole.
St. Mary’s (12-10) bounced back in convincing fashion, however, handing the 18-1 Rambelles their first loss of the season.
Not that rising to the competition is particularly new for the Lady Rattlers. They are also responsible for No. 7 West Texas A&M’s lone defeat of the season.
Baker (Sr., Arlington, Texas) led the way at the plate in the victory, going 1 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Her two-run triple down the right-field line in the fourth inning helped put away the game for good.
Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Emily Brittain – the Heartland Conference’s Pitcher of the Week – pitched a gem. The Corpus Christi, Texas native pitched a complete-game shutout, yielding just two hits to a potent Angelo State squad.
“I think it’s rising to the challenge,” explained Baker. “We were playing a little down, trying to get out of that losing streak. We seem to rise above it when we enter a game knowing we have to bring our best.”
St. Mary’s has won three of its last four since dropping six straight earlier this season.
Second baseman Sarah Perez (So., San Marcos, Texas), shortstop Richelle Morales (Jr., San Antonio), leftfielder Alex Garcia (So., San Antonio) and right fielder Shelly Lee (So., San Antonio) all produced RBIs in the victory.