COLUMBIA —Business first, celebrate later. At least, that was Rock Bridge softball coach Janel Twehous' mindset Wednesday night.
Going into senior night, Twehous said her players were "letting little things distract them."
"Whenever we were talking, I told them that they needed to focus," Twehous said. "The reason we are here is to play ball. Afterwards, we can celebrate and party; we can laugh; and we can cry. But the goal at hand was to focus, get the job done, and honestly challenge ourselves."
Smith-Cotton's team did not present much of a challenge for the senior-driven team, losing 11-0 to Rock Bridge in five innings. Rock Bridge improved to 20-3 overall.
Rock Bridge's last home game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. Rock Bridge honors its seniors during the penultimate home game in case the final game is rained out.
"We all just wanted to go out there, give it our all, give it our best as a team, and work together," senior Taylor McDannold said. "That's what we did."
Although the 10-run rule was implemented in the game, Twehous believes the competition throughout the season has prepared them for postseason play.
"We have played some really stiff competition this year," Twehous said. "The girls have pulled together, played from their heart, and left it all on the field. They are ready."
Senior catcher Lindsey Grant said the atmosphere before the night's game was "anxious."
"It is such an overwhelming feeling to realize, 'Oh, we are seniors,' because we are just getting into our senior year," Grant said. "It hasn't really hit us all yet. I think when that last game is over, it will hit us that we are done."
Grant said her favorite part of the past four years was spending it with the girls.
"Freshman year, me and Conner (Logsdon) pitched and caught every JV game," Grant said. "Then this year, it's her (Breanna Logan) and Conner switching on and off. So I have been with Bri and Con the whole time. You just create a special bond with your pitcher."
Rock Bridge honored a total of nine seniors: McDannold, Grant, Logsdon, Logan, Isabelle Bouchard, Callie Sapp, Madison Wipfler, Hannah Liebhart and Shelbie Atwell.
As the seniors' careers wind down and district play approaches next week, McDannold said the goal is to take it one game at a time.
"If we get out of there (districts), we will just keep building one off of another," McDannold said. "We all hope and believe, as a team, and think that we can go to state. We have a great chance of just making it far, as long as we keep playing with our heart."
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