NOC Enid softball

Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s Slater Eck makes a throw to first against Eastern Oklahoma Thursday, May 5, 2022, at Failing Field on the NOC Enid campus.

ENID, Okla. — NOC Enid softball coach Megan Hill comes from the school that once postseason begins, everyone is 0-0.

That’s why she is excited for her No. 8 Lady Jets (17-33) to be playing No. 1 seed and No. 4-nationally ranked Seminole (40-2) in the first round of the NJCAA Region II Tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Piedmont High School.

“To get to the end, you have to play the best sometime,” Hill said, “so why not Game 1? I’ve told the girls if we play to the best of their ability and if we peak at the right time, we can play with anybody. Our goal is to get one, then another and move on from there.”

NOC Enid comes into the tournament from momentum from a 7-3, 8-7 sweep of Eastern last Thursday which allowed the Lady Jets to nail down the No. 8 seed. Seminole had a 35-game winning streak broken by Northeastern A&M, 6-3 on May 3.

The Belles swept two doubleheaders from the Lady Jets — 11-2 and 8-1 on March 9 and 13-5 and 10-1 on April 9.

“We’re both different teams from the last time that we played,” Hill said “They obviously have a good roster.”

Seminole is led by McKenna Johnson, who leads Region 2 in RBI with 61, is tied with teammate Kamryn Garvie for third in homers (13) and is fourth in batting average (.480). Grave has 57 RBI. Make Moby leads the Region in hitting with a .500 average and has stolen 33 bases.

Tess Eubanks has 17 wins on the mound with 125 strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA.

The Lady Jets come in “with a chip on their shoulder” after not making the tournament field a year ago.

“The pressure is not on us,” Hill said. “Nobody expects us to do well. We can go in there relaxed and play the game that we know how to play. We’re going to enjoy it.”

Slater Eck leads the Lady Jets in hitting with a .462 average and 25 stolen bases. Aria Potter, Macy Stockton and Cam Alexander have been swinging hot bats lately. NOC Enid is hitting .274 as a team.

“I don’t think all nine batters in our lineup have clicked together in one game for a while,” Hill said. “I think that game is coming. Our kids are hot and rested.”

Hill said the Lady Jets’ pitching rotation will be determined at game time.

Madison Gabeau (7-7, 3.64 ERA) and Ashleigh McCause (4-1, 2.70 ERA) have been pitching well in the last month.

The NOC-Enid/Seminole winner will play the NOC Tonkawa-Western winner at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The losers play an elimination game at 11 a.m. The winners bracket finals are at 4 p.m. Saturday while the first championship game is set for noon Sunday.

The games will be played on an all-turf field. NOC Enid and Western are the only two schools with at least a partial turf field.

“We have been practicing on turf in the heat of the day,” Hill said. “We’ll be ready. Our outfield will have to do some pregame work (NOC Enid is just a turf infield and a little beyond).”

Hill said the program took a big step in making the tournament field. Hill, in her second full season (and one during COVID-19 in 2020) said the program is beginning to have some continuity after a period of frequent coaching changes.

“They have been learning from me and I’ve been learning from them,” Hill said. “We’re starting to get some traction and moving forward.”

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Campbell is a former sports writer and current part-time writer for the News & Eagle.

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Graduate of Oklahoma City John Marshall (1972) and University of Oklahoma. Been at News & Eagle since June 19, 1978. Previously worked at Oklahoma Journal, Midland, Texas Reporter & Telegram, Norman Transcript, Elk City Daily News

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