Bruins no match for Crusaders

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:18 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

Two days after its first loss of the season, the Helias softball team decided to take out its frustration on Rock Bridge.

The Bruins suffered their worst loss of the season Monday, falling 18-1 to the defending Class 4 state champions at Rock Bridge Field.

Helias (19-1) lost 1-0 in nine innings against Liberty on Saturday.

Helias pitcher Lauren Delaney (16-1) held the Bruins (4-14) to one hit in a game shortened to four innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. Delaney, who pitched a perfect game in last year’s state championship game, struck out four batters in three innings.

“The odds that any team in the state of Missouri is going to score multiple runs off her are very slim,” Bruins coach Jennifer Mast said. “Jeff City scored two runs on them last year in the district finals, and that’s the last time I can remember anyone scoring more than one run against them. It just doesn’t happen.”

Rock Bridge shortstop Emily Lay was one of only three Bruin base runners in the game.

“I hate to give her that kind of credit,” Lay said. “But yeah, she was just that dominating.”

A bad loss turned into a rout in the fourth inning. Rock Bridge pitcher Kayla Turnbull walked the first two batters she faced, and three batters later, the Crusaders’ Megan Struemph doubled, scoring two runs and kicking off a stretch in which the next six Helias batters reached base. Helias finished the inning with eight runs.

“I mean they just hit the ball,” Mast said. “I’m not upset with the defense at all. It’s hard to get balls beamed at you and not be able to field them. Those weren’t necessarily errors; those are just hard hit balls.”

The Bruins scored their only run in the bottom of the second inning. Trailing 6-0, Delaney made a rare mental mistake, walking sophomore Crystal Chapin with one out.

After two wild pitches allowed Chapin to move to third, freshman Ashley Farmer singled to right field, scoring Chapin and notching the Bruins only hit of the night.

“I was trying to bunt, but I couldn’t get the bat around quick enough because she throws so hard, so I just kind of swung,” Farmer said. “I don’t even know what kind of pitch it was.”

The loss also came on Rock Bridge’s senior night. Lay, the team’s only senior, was noticeably upset following the loss.

“I mean, I knew it was going to be rough, but I didn’t think it would be that rough,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to be a leader in a situation like that.”

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