Hickman pitcher Stefani Worley has not forgotten what happened the most recent time her team squared off with Rock Bridge, and she hopes her teammates have not forgotten either.
Last season, with the Bruins holding a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh inning, rain and lightning caused umpires to call the game, leaving Hickman without a chance to make a comeback in the bottom of the inning.
“I’m still very bitter about the outcome of that game and I’m sure the other players are as well,” Worley said Tuesday. “That will definitely be a motivation going into the game.”
Hickman and Rock Bridge meet tonight at 5 p.m. at Rock Bridge Field. Neither team has put together a winning record this year.“Right now, from where we’re sitting, any win is a big win,” Hickman coach Courtney Haskell said, alluding to her team’s 1-9 record. “But a win over Rock Bridge is always big. They’ve got some good hitters and this should be a good test for us.”
The teams enter the game in similar situations. Both have struggled early this season, and each starts one senior and have lineups filled with underclassmen.
“We’re kind of in the same boat as them,” said Worley, who plays with three teammates from last season’s team. “We have a very young team, a very inexperienced team. But it would be great to come out on the better end of this one.”
Worley, who faced Rock Bridge three times last season, is expected to pitch Thursday for Hickman. The Rock Bridge starter, on the other hand, has not been determined.
Rock Bridge coach Jennifer Mast found out last weekend that right-hander Kayla Turnbull had developed a blister on the index finger of her throwing hand, and her status is uncertain going into tonight’s game. If Turnbull is not able to pitch, Mast said that Kelsey Oerly will likely fill in.
“We haven’t made a decision about who will start on Thursday, but it’s just as likely that it won’t be Kayla,” said Mast, whose team is 3-7. “Kelsey did a very nice job on Saturday (at the Capital City Invitational in Jefferson City). We’ve played very well with Kelsey. I don’t think it would be a disadvantage at all if she starts.”
Turnbull said defense will be crucial. The Bruins’ defense this season has been less than superb, giving up a large number of unearned runs. Turnbull said that will have to stop if the team wants to be successful tonight.
“We need to make as few errors as possible and stay strong on defense,” Turnbull said. “Our hitting is really coming around, so if we can get some runs and then hold them with our defense, we should be good.”
Hickman also spent considerable time this week working on defensive situations. After Wednesday’s game against New Franklin was cancelled, the team got an extra day to practice.
“We practiced Monday and it went very well. We’re trying to focus on some special defensive situations, as well as our offense,” Haskell said.
Haskell, who prides herself on the way her team has been able to stick together this year despite the losses, said the Kewpies will again have to play together.
“It’s got to be the whole team,” Haskell said. “The whole team has to step up. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We’re really going to have to use that to our advantage here.”