Cameron faces tough regional challenge
Dennis Furr has always been up for a challenge and when he took the Cameron softball job before last season, he wanted to win games immediately but you can also bet that he had a long-range plan for the program, a step-by-step progression to the point where the Aggies could compete with anyone.
If you asked him today if they had arrived at that point his answer would probably be that they could compete now but that this team's best chance for a banner season would be next season. That would mean when the bulk of his team would have two strong seasons under their belt.
So, if that is indeed his long-range plan, then a great stepping stone will be the NCAA South Central Regional that the Aggies will be competing in this week at Angelo State University.
While the bracket does not include top-seeded Mesa State of Colorado, the opponents in San Angelo are formidable with Angelo State, West Texas and Colorado Christian rounding out the field.
Today's games start with the Aggies meeting West Texas at 3:30 p.m. and ASU facing Colorado Christian at 6 p.m.
The two winners of those games return to meet at 2 p.m. Friday while the two losers play at 4:30 p.m. From there the games go on until there is a lone survivor.
"We are capable of beating anyone right now, we just have to go out and execute," Furr said prior to the Lone Star Conference Tournament. "We have to just keep improving and making plays and getting clutch hits."
Looking at this WT-CU matchup there is no doubt the Buffaloes are the favorites, having swept the Aggies in a three-game series earlier in the season. The scores were 9-2, 9-6 and 3-1.
That looks like total domination but if you break down the games, CU had its chances in two of those. In the opener Rylee Willmon gave up 10 hits but allowed just a pair of earned runs as the Aggie defense broke down in that contest.
In the third game, the 3-1 loss, Willmon was strong once again, allowing three earned runs on six hits and five walks. She also walked two in the opener.
Overall she did a pretty good job against the Buffs and I wouldn't be surprised to see Furr give the ball to his transfer for today's first game. If she can eliminate the walks and the Aggies play good defense, there's a chance for an upset.
The key on offense will be to get clutch hits, something the Aggies have struggled to do at times. Brenna Busby gives the Aggies a consistent hitter in the heart of the order but there have been chances for other CU players to drive in runs but they've been unable to do so. For CU to win, the Aggies must get runners on base, execute the bunt and then drive them home.
It won't be easy beating the Buffs, though, who come in at 39-11 after finishing as the Lone Star runners-up.
WT is hitting a sizzling .359 on the season with 380 runs scored, 71 doubles, 26 triples, and 97 homers. West Texas also has a 2.54 team ERA with a combined 218 Ks in 314 innings pitched.
Nine Lady Buff hitters are batting over .300, with their top two hitters, Suka Van Gurp and Ashely Hardin each batting over .420. Hardin and Kylee Moore both have 25 home runs, which is second best in the Nation, while Moore is fifth in Division II with 65 RBI and Hardin is 10th with 61; they were both first team All-LSC selections.