COLUMBIA — Janel Twehous' back is covered.
The Rock Bridge softball team donned pink jerseys and socks during Thursday night's 11-1 win over Hannibal for the annual "Pink Out" game in support of breast cancer awareness. Twehous, the Rock Bridge coach, is a breast cancer survivor.
"It's kind of a touchy subject with us," senior right fielder Maddie Wipfler said.
"On our backs it says, 'We got your six.' In the Army, the front of you is No. 12, and your back is your six, so it's saying we have got your back," she added. "It's just letting our coach know that we are always there for her and we support her in everything she does, just like she does us."
Twehous feels honored that her team has a game to support the cause.
"That is a past that I try to forget, very much — I'm not going to lie," Twehous said. "They get shirts, raise money, collect any donations, do baked goods, and any money we receive we turn in to (the Susan G. Komen foundation)."
For this close-knit team that describes itself as a family, it is important the coach knows the players are behind her. The family of 24 — which includes 19 players, four coaches and one manager — will also have to have each others' backs going into district play next week.
"It's the first year we got the No. 1 seed," Twehous said. "But now we have a job at hand; (the seed) doesn't mean anything. The season that we have had, the games that we have played, the intensity — it is time to step it up and take it to the end. All of us have a goal in mind — now it's just time to put it all together."
Entering district play with a No. 1 seed and the senior class with the most wins in school history, Wipfler, who is one of nine seniors, is confident and excited for postseason play.
"Going in knowing that this is senior year, we're going to go out with a bang no matter what," Wipfler said. "Going into districts, we are just thinking, 'This is it,' and we are just going to take it as far as we can with everything we have learned over the years."
With a record of 89-17 over the seniors' four years of play, as well as the coach's four years of experience at Rock Bridge, Twehous will not let her team get overconfident.
"My first year here, we were bad news bears; it doesn't mean anything," Twehous said. "They know that. What we have done in the season does not mean anything other than build each other up and coming together as a team."
In Twehous' first season as the Rock Bridge coach, the softball program brought home its first district title. Since then, Hickman and Jefferson City have each won the district tournament.
This year, however, Rock Bridge has each others' 'six.'
"We are always talking about, 'I got your back,'" Twehous said. "'Cause as a family, we have each others' back whenever we are down."