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When stealing is good: Alexander come up clutch on bases

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O'C Cowgirl Softball v. Iowa State-10.jpg

OSU outfielder Chelsea Alexander (right) talks with fellow senior Sydney Pennington during Friday's game of the Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State softball series on April 2, 2021 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

Due to the great baserunning of Chelsea Alexander, a harmless pop up became a big moment and completed an unusual trip around the bases.

Oklahoma State beat Baylor 4-0 in the first half of a doubleheader on Saturday. The final run of the game came in exciting fashion.

With OSU runners on the corners in the bottom of the fourth inning, senior first baseman Alysen Febrey’s at-bat did not go well. The slugger popped a pitch up behind the plate. Baylor catcher Zadie LaValley ranged back to catch the ball, but then got other ideas.

After LaValley made the catch, she snapped off a throw to first base in an attempt to catch freshman Avery Hobson napping.

The futile attempt gave Alexander an opportunity.

The speedy senior darted home as soon as the ball was thrown. The Baylor first baseman gunned the ball back to LaValley, but she was fractions of a seconds late.

Alexander aggressively slid into home and was called safe — raising a cloud of dust and the OSU score.

“That’s the kind of stuff that gets me excited as a coach,” coach Kenny Gajewski said. “It’s the hustle plays. It is playing with your head on straight. Being aware of what’s going on. Taking advantage of your gift, and that’s her speed.”

Scoring runs without hits is a big part of softball, and it will only get bigger for the Cowgirls as they inch closer toward the postseason.

“Stealing runs are the most important thing,” Gajewski said. “You’re going to run up against great arms and you’re not always going to be able to drive them in. You’ve got to figure out a way to manufacture (runs). To take extra bases. It was a big momentum shift for sure.”

The steal of home that started on an innocuous play was fitting. Alexander earned her way on the bases in similar fashion.

After an OSU batter walked to lead off the inning, Alexander laid down a bunt to advance her teammate. Though she did her job well, Alexander ran hard.

“Bunting is a part of my game that I’ve really started to take advantage of with my speed,” Alexander said. “I know I can hit, too, but if they’re going to give me the bunt I’ll keep doing it.”

Although the Cowgirl’s already had a healthy lead and she would’ve gotten high fives in the dugout for advancing the runner, Alexander’s effort paid off. She beat out the throw and set herself up for an exciting play.

“It’s an easy way to get on If I keep laying it down like I have been,” Alexander said. “It’s a lot of fun as long as I’m on base.”