Softball makes history, goes to final 4 tomorrow

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Ella Schouten pitches to Battle High School Oct. 18. Photo by Ana Manzano.

Camryn DeVore

The Bruin’s displayed their powerful offensive ability Monday, Oct. 28 at the softball quarterfinal game against Francis Howell Central High School (FHCHS). The Spartans were 21-9 on the season and had made a Final Four appearance the year before, but the Bruins squelched any hope of a repeat performance when they beat the Spartans 8-0.

Moving forward, the Bruins will take on Blue Springs South, the defending state champions, at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Nov. 1, in Springfield.

Energy levels were high as the team bus pulled into the parking lot of FHCHS two and a half hours before start time. The Bruins, with rounds of dance parties fueled by pump music, waited for their coaches to announce their warm-up time.

At 2 p.m., assistant coach Jeff Bazat called the girls. The starting lineup was forced to walk across the baseball field to bat in the cages there, while the non starters warmed up their arms by throwing in preparation should they be needed in the game. After they completed this, the non-starters headed to the cages, and the starters hustled back to the field to throw and field some ground balls.

With 40 minutes before the start time, Bazat hit ground balls to the infielders and assistant coach Andrea Drake hit fly balls to the outfielders. Before taking ground balls sophomore Ellie Clay and freshman Kayla Mooney took time to complete a round of short hops, a drill infielders do in order to familiarize themselves to the way the ball hops on the particular field.

After winning the coin toss to receive home team status post warm-ups, FHCHS began their pre-game routine first. In high school, softball teams utilize a ‘pre-game routine,’ where the individual team members take to their routine spot on the field, allowing for an opportunity to acclimate as well as intimidate the opposing side. Following FHCHS, RBHS performed a solid pre-game routine that boosted their confidence for the game, now only minutes away.

Lead off batter junior center fielder Maddie Snider stepped into the batter’s box. After fighting through a count, she executed a single, positioning a runner on with no outs. Freshman right fielder Anna Christ followed up to bat, and on the first pitch Snider stole second base and slid in safely. Christ, now hitting with a runner in scoring position, remained calm and collected. After another single, Christ added a run batted in (RBI) to her stats as Snider speedily ran home. The following batters would hit Christ in, putting the Bruins up to an early lead of 2-0 going into the bottom of the first.

As the game progressed, the Bruins refused to let off the gas. They scored another two runs in the top of the second inning, one of those runs being a solo shot by junior Maren Jones and the other being an RBI single by Snider. To compliment their stellar offense, the Bruin defense saw top-notch plays from both middle infielders, and senior short-stop Madison White and junior Margo Frossard made crucial plays. White made a knee sliding catch, followed by Frossard ranging for to her left to make a tough play on a hard hit ground ball.

Jones gave a career highlight through the game, hitting three home-runs and directly contributing to four of the eight runs scored. As she approached the plate for her at bat, already having hit two home runs, Jones took a deep breath and once again faced the FHCHS pitcher.

“Coming to the plate I obviously had a sense of pressure to perform again because I had just hit a homerun,” Jones said, “But I tried to focus on just making contact and doing my job.”

Other players put on remarkable performances at the plate as well, such as Snider and senior first baseman Mackenzie White going 3-for-4.

[penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”]The FHCHS offense wasn’t able to make adjustments at the plate until the seventh inning. The first two batters for the Spartans found their way on base. With one out and two runners on, freshman catcher Abby Hay made a game winning play that has that was later streamed on an Empire and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) webcast show. The batter popped the ball into the just to Hay’s right side, and she slid on her knees after the ball knocked her glove in a fleeting effort. In a display of persistence, she caught the ball with her bare hand before it hit the ground. With no hesitation the freshman starter popped to her feet and threw the ball to senior third basemen Chloe Simon to tag the girl out, ending the game in the utmost fashion.[/penci_text_block] [vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI1NjAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzMTUlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGWVpocDVRd2FsQ2MlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvdyUzRCUyMmFjY2VsZXJvbWV0ZXIlM0IlMjBhdXRvcGxheSUzQiUyMGVuY3J5cHRlZC1tZWRpYSUzQiUyMGd5cm9zY29wZSUzQiUyMHBpY3R1cmUtaW4tcGljdHVyZSUyMiUyMGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html]The Bruins finish off the Francis Howell Central with this game-ending double play caught by Maddie Murphy, alumna 2019 and former “Bearing News” feature editor.

How do you think the softball team’s season will finish? Let us know in the comments below.