The Rolla softball team opened their District Tournament against Lebanon on Thursday, Oct. 11. For the first time since 2012, the Lady Bulldogs earned a spot in a District Title game with a 12-2 win in six innings.
The Lady Bulldogs were firing on all cylinders on Thursday night. Rolla jumped out to 5-1 lead in the first inning with RBI from Lauren Moersch and Jordan Watkins. Reagan Reedy and Zoey Barr each scored on passed balls on the way to their early lead. Lebanon scored an unearned run in the second, before Rolla piled on five more runs. Keira Chrisco gave Rolla a spark with a leadoff triple, scoring as Moersch reached base on an error. Reedy then smacked an RBI single, before another run scored on a squeeze bunt by Kassidy Chrisco. Madison Mace, who was celebrating her birthday on Thursday, and Emalee Grooms each added RBI singles, as the Rolla lead ballooned out to 10-2.
The Rolla offense slowed down after the first two innings, but that lead would stand thanks to an excellent pitching performance by Watkins. The freshman pitcher was absolutely dealing, allowing just one hit for the rest of the game. First she struck out two in the third, before walking three more in the fourth. She struck out the side in the fifth, before setting down the Lady Yellowjackets in order in the sixth.
With the great pitching, Rolla needed just two more runs to cap off the mercy rule win. Sierra Spencer scored on a passed ball in the fourth to cut that total to one. The Lady Bulldogs finished things off in the sixth inning. Mace led things off with a double, before Spencer was hit by a pitch. Emalee Grooms delivered the final blow with an RBI double, sending the birthday girl around to score the game-sealing run, giving Rolla a 12-2 win.
"Tremendous teamwork showed tonight, everybody up, everybody positive, recovering when we needed to," said head coach Jessika Zink-Cook. "I'm really proud of the girls showing up and giving it all they had. We're fired up and ready to go tomorrow...we're going to play our game and battle like the Bulldogs that we are."
The win marked the first time since 2012 that Rolla earned a spot in a District Championship game. That season, they went on to beat Waynesville 5-0 for the championship.
This season, they'll face a different Ozark Conference foe in the top seed, Camdenton. These two conference rivals faced off one time earlier this season, with Camdenton winning 8-6 in 10 innings. That game was originally slated to be played on Friday, but Mother Nature had other plans. They are now scheduled to play Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Lebanon.