E.A. Sports Today


One out from victory, Oxford’s Smash It Sports Vipers fall 7-4 after Oklahoma City Spark rallies for four runs in top of the seventh inning.

Suzy Brookshire follows through on a fourth-inning double during the Smash It Sports Vipers’ 7-4 loss to the Oklahoma City Spark on Monday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Breakthrough turned to heartbreak quickly for Oxford’s Smash It Sports Vipers on Monday.

The Oklahoma City Spark rallied for four two-out runs in the top of the seventh inning to reclaim the lead in their Women’s Professional Fastpitch game and won 7-4 at Choccolocco Park.

The Vipers dropped to 2-12 with their fifth consecutive loss. This while emerging from a week’s break between games with big hopes for a momentum-turning victory.

“It’s tough, but you saw it,” third baseman Makena Smith said. “We were in it. We were there to win. It fell apart in the end, but we’re a different team after the break.”

The Vipers are literally a different team coming out of the break. They added Jenna Kean during the break, and the former University of Arizona and University of Louisiana center fielder allowed Raina O’Neal to move to left field.

“Kean is a good addition, because she adds speed to our lineup,” Vipers assistant coach Hunter Veach said. “We’re able to make some moves with our team now where we can incorporate more speed, power and defense.

“Down the stretch, that’s what we’re going to need.”

Still no word on the severity of pitcher Annie Willis’ arm injury, which occurred before the break. She wasn’t in uniform Monday, but Gianna Mancha came on and nearly became the first Vipers’ pitcher not named Amber Viser to win this season.

Mancha relieved Fiser to start the fifth inning. The former Boise State/University of Central Florida standout allowed no runs in the fifth or sixth innings and struck out Fa Leilua and Yvonne Whaley to start the seventh.

“Gianna just went with her national team, and they won a gold medal, so having her coming back out, having a fresh start again, it was great for her to come in and do what she did,” Veach said. “She pitched a hell of a game.”

Mancha was pulled for Meghan Schorman after giving up a two-out single to Lynnsie Elam.

Elam’s single began a two-out rally. Chloe Malauulu greeted Schorman with a single, and Schorman hit Chelsea Alexander to load the bases. Sami Williams followed with a two-run single to regain the lead for the Spark, and Sydney Sherrill hit a two-run double to the left-center field gap to make it 7-4.

The Vipers got Chelsea Gonzales’ two-out infield single in the bottom of the seventh, but Alex Storako struck out Tatyana Forbes to end the game.

So ended a night of promise for the Vipers, who rallied after the Spark’s three-run third inning to take the lead.

Karly Heath got the comeback started in the bottom of the third with a solo blast into the right-center field bleachers to make it 3-1.

“It felt good,” Heath said. “I was struggling before we went on break a lot, and I was trying to find my swing. It felt good with my confidence to hit that home run.

“Just to see my teammates out of the dugout just cheering for me, it felt really good to know they have my back.”

Suzy Brookshire led off the fourth with a double and scored on Mary Iakopo’s single to make it 3-2, and Smith gave the Vipers the lead with a two-run, two-out double to right-center field in the sixth.

“It was exciting,” Smith said. “It would’ve been better if we had won, but it was exciting to do that for my team.”

The Spark’s seventh-inning rally turned the mood in the Vipers’ dugout.

“It’s definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Heath said.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login