The Rolla (1-3) and St. James (5-2) softball teams were both in action on Tuesday, Aug. 29. The Lady Bulldogs saw Emalee Grooms return to the mound, but she took her lumps in the process on her way to a 21-14 loss to Pleasant Hope. St. James was in a shootout of their own, but they were on the winning side of a 16-14 matchup with Hermann in their first conference game.

Grooms rusty but healthy in return to the mound 

Emalee Grooms returned to the rubber for Rolla after the injury to Lauren Moersch on Monday and took an inning to settle in. She allowed 13 runs in the first inning, but she calmed down after the bumpy start. The Rolla offense was able to score three runs of their own in the first and second innings in order to stave off the run rule through three innings. Pleasant Hope scored a run in the second and two in the third before striking for four runs in the fourth. 

Rolla added two more runs in the fourth to keep the game alive, bringing the score to 19-8. After Pleasant Hope scored one in the top of the fifth, the Rolla offense added four more runs to again stave off the run rule through five, cutting the deficit to 20-12. Rolla added two more runs in the sixth and Pleasant Hope scored once in the seventh to finish off a 21-16 win. 

Grooms pitched a complete game for Rolla and struggled a bit with control in her first pitching action in several weeks. She allowed 21 runs, 16 of which were earned, on 22 hits, nine walks and four hit batters. Head coach Tim Dunn was glad to see Grooms return to the rubber and knows that she'll be able to shake off some of that rust after she gets a few more innings under her belt.

"It was nice to see Emalee come back and throw strong. She was erratic, of course, not having pitched in a couple of weeks, but she showed not signs of pain or injury," said coach Dunn. "Hopefully once we get her back to speed, we can start getting more consistent in all areas of our game." 

Rolla had a solid game offensively overall. The Lady Bulldogs' lone senior Makenzie Proffitt went 4-5 at the plate and knocked in three runs. Kristynn Hufford was 3-5 with three doubles, five RBI and a run scored. Chloe Wood also knocked in three runs on a pair of doubles and scored four runs. Grooms helped herself out at the plate with two runs scored on two hits, one of which was a triple. Alex Kitchens, Hannah Buecler, Kassidy Chrisco and Maycie Montgomery also each scored runs for Rolla.

The Lady Bulldogs also took a 7-4 loss in the JV game with Madison Hodapp and Kendra Cameron pitching for Rolla. 

Rolla will continue their busy week when they face off against Parkview in their first Ozark Conference game on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Lady Tigers bend but don't break

St. James looked like they were on their way to an easy win against Hermann on Tuesday, but they struggled late to make it a game when they opened up their Four Rivers Conference slate.

The Lady Tigers dominated early, scoring in each of the first four innings. That early run was highlighted by a six run fourth inning to take a 12-0 lead before before Hermann got on the board in the bottom of the inning with three runs. The fifth inning was scoreless for both sides before the Lady Tigers added another three runs in the top of the sixth.

St. James started to fall apart in the sixth, however, when they went to the bullpen. After Kayla Hamilton allowed just three runs, only one of which was earned, in five innings on three hits, six walks and six strikeouts. The bullpen and defense faltered in the final two innings. Makenzie Brennan was the only reliever to come out without a scratch in two thirds of an inning of work. Audrey Marcee pitched two thirds of an inning allowing five runs, two of which were earned, on one hit, five walks and a strikeout. Relora Embrey also pitched two thirds of an inning, allowing six earned runs on four walks. The Lady Tigers were able to hold off Hermann just enough to walk away with a 16-14 win. 

Mikaela Donnelly led the team offensively by going 3-5 with four RBI, one run scored, a triple and a stolen base. Hamilton, Shelby Quick and Hannah Shasserre each drove in a pair of runs, while Taylor Brennan, Kyler Dautenhahn, Alyssa Doris, Scout Paulus and Hunter Pitts each drove in one run. The Lady Bulldogs also swiped six bags as a team, led by three by Taylor Brennan.