[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting.]
The Rock Bridge baseball team had no idea how big the win against Hickman on April 14 would be until district seeding came back last Saturday and they had the No. 3 seed, leaving the Kewpies at No. 4.
Rock Bridge junior Jack Campbell helped get the Bruins out of the seventh inning and preserve the win in the first meeting between Hickman (10-9) and Rock Bridge (12-7) when he made a diving play down the third base line, popping to his feet to throw the runner out at first.
Campbell said today’s 5 p.m. matchup at Hickman is just as important as the first one, even though no seeding is at stake.
“This game is as important as any of our games this year,” Campbell said. “It may not count for the seeding, but it is huge for momentum. It will give them momentum if they come back and beat us this time, and it would kind of take the wind out of our sails.”
Coach Terry Whitney agreed.
“This game is important from a practice standpoint,” Whitney said. “We’ve only played 19 games this year because of rainouts. We need to use this game to keep our momentum going, and to get some more practice in. We can’t go into the district tournament flat.”
The Bruins are also motivated to beat the Kewpies because it would be the first time any of the current Bruins’ players have swept Hickman. The last time they split with Hickman was three years ago.
“I’m not going to lie and say it wouldn’t be nice to be the first Rock Bridge team to sweep Hickman since any of us can remember,” said junior Erik Darkow, who got the win on the mound against Hickman in the first meeting. “It’s on the back of my mind. It’s just that pride factor. This is always going to be a game that matters a little more than the rest, because we have such a rivalry going and have grown up with these kids. But we are more worried about districts than anything. We could lose every game this season, but if we pull it off at districts, that’s all that matters.”
Rock Bridge will open play in the Class 4 District 10 Tournament against Camdenton on Monday at 7 p.m. in Jefferson City.