The Arkansas-Pine Bluff softball team took shots from teams from almost every level over in the past week.
The Lady Lions (2-16) went to the Mizuno Classic on Friday and Saturday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to face two major conference teams and one mid-major team. On Friday, Nebraska, of the Big Ten, beat UAPB 16-0 in five innings. Then Loyola University of Chicago, of the Horizon League, beat the Lady Lions 15-1 in five innings.
The Mizuno Classic concluded with a 12-2 loss to Oklahoma State, of the Big 12, for UAPB.
The Lady Lions had a chance to put a tough weekend behind them with two games against Central Baptist College, an NAIA school, on Tuesday. But UAPB were swept 12-1 and 8-2.
“You could say they took it hard,” UAPB interim coach Crystal Bowers said. “I wouldn’t say it was a fluke. It was still a game and we still lost it.”
Before UAPB was swept against Central Baptist, the Lady Lions faced stiff competition in Stillwater. OSU received one vote in the latest coaches’ poll and Nebraska is 15-12 on the season. Loyola is 3-8.
While the competition is tough for the Lady Lions to match, Bowers enjoys playing those type of teams.
“It pushes us to be even stronger,” she said. “It can also be deflating when you play some of these top-notch schools, but I think the team really looks at it as a workout. I do not think OSU expected us to score a run against them and we were able to do that.”
Playing schools in the major conferences also has another advantage for UAPB — preparing it for SWAC games.
“We kind of learn what we can for those games to get us ready for the conference games,” Bowers said. “When we play conference games, we have play the best already, so that will prepare us for tough conference games.”
But before the SWAC games start in a week, the Lady Lions will have a chance to seek a measure of revenge against Central Baptist. The two teams play another doubleheader starting 1 p.m. today at Torii Hunter Softball Complex.
Bowers said her team wants to extract some revenge, too.
“They want that opportunity and they have it (today),” she said. “It’s an opportunity to get back out there and show it was maybe an off-day and hopefully we can play well (today).”