After a day full of rain on Friday, the Rolla softball team played a rescheduled District Championship game against Camdenton on Saturday, Oct. 13. Rolla got behind early and couldn't get into an offensive rhythm in an 11-0 loss to the Lady Lakers in five innings.
Rolla ran into a buzz saw of a pitcher on Saturday in Haile Farris. She seemed to have a little extra juice compared to the last time these two teams faced off against each other and made quick work of the Lady Bulldogs in the first inning. Jordan Watkins then dug herself into a hole in the bottom of the frame. The freshman pitcher walked Camdenton's first two batters, before a sac fly put them both in scoring position. A single by Farris put Camdenton on the board, but a great throw home kept the Lady Lakers to just one run. A single put runners on the corners, before another single by Emma Uthe drove in another run for Camdenton. An error in right opened the door for Camdenton to get another runner across on the play, which game the Lady Lakers a 3-0 lead through an inning of play.
The Lady Bulldogs again struggled at the plate in the second. A single by Kassidy Chrisco was Rolla's first base knock of the game, but three Lady Bulldogs struck out to leave Chrisco stranded. Camdenton then got a clutch two-out double from Shelby Webster, which drove in a pair of runs to extend the Lady Laker lead to 5-0 through two innings.
Rolla's only base runner in the third reached on an error, as Farris continued to deal for Camdenton. The Lady Lakers then added a run in the bottom of the inning, scoring on an error. The Lady Bulldog defense bounced back with a throw home to prevent another Camdenton run on a groundout to Watkins on the mound. Camdenton was held to just one run in the inning, as they extended their lead to 6-0.
Camdenton put the game away in the fourth. The first three Lady Lakers reached to open the inning, before an error on a throw home gave Camdenton a run as the bases remained loaded. Rolla was able to get an out at the plate and a pop out, before a walk brought another run around to score. That's when Lauren Moersch was brought in to relieve Watkins. Moersch then walked her first two batters, bringing two more runs in to score, before an attempted pick off at third flew into left for another Camdenton run. That gave Camdenton an 11-0 lead. Rolla would go down in order in the top of the fifth to end the game.
While a loss to Camdenton in the District Championship was not how Rolla wanted to end their season, they've come a long way from where they were a year ago. The Lady Bulldogs finished last season with just three wins and just a year later they tripled that win total and found themselves in a District Title game. Head coach Jessika Zink-Cook is proud to see how far her team has come this season.
"Right, we're striving for improvement every day and that's kind of been our motto this year," said the first year head coach. "I'm proud of the girls everyday, striving for that improvement to the next level and competing today in a District Title game is a nice accomplishment this year. I'm just proud of each and every Lady Bulldog today and as we move forward in this offseason, we're going to work to strive for that improvement and strive for that excellence."
This was a very new experience for Rolla. None of these girls have played in a District Championship in softball and many of their players were in their first varsity season as freshmen. They ran into a team with six seniors and now three consecutive District Titles under their belt. Coach Zink-Cook hopes her team is able to learn from the loss and carry that experience into next season.
"The intensity and the aggressive game," said coach Zink-Cook about what her team needed to learn from this game. "We'll just keep moving forward as we strive for excellence as a team, only getting better and better."