COLUMBIA — Krista Blomenkamp isn’t nervous on a softball field. That is, unless she’s singing.
The junior centerfielder had three hits, drove in a run and scored once in Rock Bridge’s 12-2 victory over Smith Cotton on Friday night. She also sang the national anthem before the first pitch, setting the tone for a night she would enjoy as a self-proclaimed “coming-out party.”
Blomenkamp, who sang in choirs growing up, said the prospect of singing the national anthem took a little getting used to.
“It’s really nerve-racking the first time, right when you go up there,” Blomenkamp said. “But once the microphone gets in your hand, it’s natural. It just kind of comes out.”
Singing was not her main concern on Friday, though.
Blomenkamp has struggled at the plate this season, forcing Bruins coach Janel Twehous to use a designated hitter in her place. The two talked during practices earlier in the week, with Twehous stressing that if Blomenkamp continued to slump, she'd lose at-bats.
“She knew she had to show me what she could do offensively to keep getting opportunities to bat. I gave her an opportunity and she showed me tonight,” Twehous said.
Blomenkamp credited plate vision as a cause of the offensive revival.
“I felt like I was seeing the ball better today than I have been in the past,” Blomenkamp said. “I haven’t had a lot of chances to bat this year, for understandable reasons, so I felt like it was time for me to come out and do what I needed to do to help my team win.”
Blomenkamp doubled in a run and sparked a nine-run outburst in the sixth inning. The scoring surge cemented a victory for pitcher Lauren Fuller, who allowed only one earned run on four hits over six innings.
Blomenkamp still needs to continue progressing at the plate to secure a spot in the lineup, Twehous said. She's established herself as the team's singer, though.
“It’s good for us to have somebody who can sing it, and actually sing it well,” said Fuller, who had two hits and two RBIs. She paused, before adding, “I don’t think that’s my calling.”
Blomenkamp has more experience with a glove or bat than a microphone, but she is taking her new role on the team in stride.
“Softball is something I’ve been doing since I was 9 years old, so that’s just part of life for me,” she said. “Singing was just something I did in the shower.”