COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge softball team had reason to celebrate Saturday.
The Bruins won their first district title.
Senior and starting catcher Brianne Bond said the district title was everything she could have wished for.
"It was just really great that our team pulled together, and we got our heads down when we needed them," she said.
The Bruins' Class 4, District 9 victory was particularly special for head coach Janel Twehous. In her first year at Rock Bridge, she has taken the program to a new level, including the recent district championship.
"I have been blessed with a lot of very talented athletes, and we have been able to come together as a team and have each others' backs and work well together," she said.
The Bruins (26-3) will play Rolla in the sectional round of the state championship tournament at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Rolla. The Bruins must win to advance to the quarterfinals.
Twehous explained that the Bruins' preparation for the upcoming sectional game has been focused on physical and mental preparation. The team has focused on fundamental softball techniques to achieve its goals. Recent practices have included Wiffle ball, scrimmages with live pitching and hitting balls off tees.
Twehous has brought a new style of coaching to the Bruins, which she believes has been beneficial for her players. "I’ve pushed them to the different limits than they’ve been pushed," she said. "We’ve jelled well together."
Twehous and her team understand the importance of this preparation for upcoming games. Every game is a must-win game for the Bruins to advance to the next round of state competition.
"Any of the teams left now, you’re gonna have to come out ready, prepared to play ball, be mentally focused, and eliminate the mental and physical errors, and go from there," Twehous said.