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Naomi’s acrobatic catch highlights defensive play by Cowgirls in 4-0 win

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OSU shortstop Kiley Naomi looks to throw during the Oklahoma State vs. Wichita State softball game on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

Kiley Naomi jumped.

Naomi, playing shortstop, leaped high, grabbing a line drive hit by Zadie LaValley. Naomi threw to first base, catching Maddison Kettler off the bag, completing the double play.

Kettler reached base from a line drive to Naomi. Naomi said she missed the ball by inches.

“I’m always thinking (double play), especially when someone is on first base,” Naomi said. “From the batter before, I was thinking, ‘I wish I had a second chance at that (hit), and I got that second chance (to get her out).’”

Right fielder Chelsea Alexander said she loved Naomi’s catch.

“I wish the video camera was on me, because I think I got higher off the ground than she did,” Alexander said. “I was pumped.”

Alexander said she expected the ball to reach her when it came off the bat. She said she ran to fill the gap, but the ball landed in Naomi’s glove.

Naomi’s double play was one of the key defensive plays Saturday against Baylor.

Naomi fielded a bouncing ground ball in the gap between shortstop and second base in the seventh inning. She turned a Baylor single into the first out of the inning.

“She’s a freak show,” coach Kenny Gajewski said. “She just plays at a different level. That’s why I’ll continue to say she’s one of the best players in the country. She showed that all day today with her glove.”

Naomi missed a ground ball in the first inning, bouncing under her glove but not scored an error.

“If she’d have just come and got that ball right away Baylor would have had one less hit,” Gajewski said. “That’s just the learning curve. She’s so gifted, she works so hard and loves to play this game.”

Chyenne Factor made a diving catch in right field in the sixth inning. Carrie Eberle grabbed a ground ball hit back to her in the dirt, throwing out a batter at first.

Catcher Reagan Wright fielded a short bunt, throw to first base for the second out of the seventh.

“(Offense and defense) reflect on each other,” Naomi said. “When you’re doing good you just feel good all around when you’re on defense or offense. You have that good energy going inside and you know everybody is with you.”