THE ROCK (KSNT) – Each player on the Rock Creek baseball team has been to State every year they have been on the team.
But, for softball, it’s almost the opposite. For a lot of the girls, this is their first time getting a state tournament experience.
“Since COVID, we were all pretty shot down that we couldn’t go,” softball pitcher Sophia Haverkamp said. “I think the team, we’re all very excited and we’re just ready to play.”
Mustang softball enters the tournament as the 8-seed, but they’re not afraid.
“The beauty of our team is that it’s 15-people strong,” head softball coach Jeri Brummett said. “So, one day it’s Sophia, one day it’s Grace… There’s 15 people that could step up and step in at any given situation.”
They’re powered by solid pitching and defense.
“I know Sophia, our pitcher, she’s really good and she’s just amazing, honestly,” softball outfielder Grace Gehl said.
The Mustangs have been preparing for anything they can predict.
“Faster pitching, like hitting,” softball shortstop Brooklyn Goehring said. “Defensive work on turf because we’ve never played on turf before, so we just use the baseball field.”
Rock Creek will face 1-seed Cheney in the first round.
“We’ve played all of those guys,” Brummet said. “I think we just approach it like they’re the same kind of team we’ve been playing all year long.”
That’s pretty much the same approach for Rock Creek baseball. The three pillars to their game are pitching, defense, and two-out hits.
“We put a lot of pressure on teams in more ways than one,” head baseball coach Shane Sieben said.
The Mustangs are not a home run powerhouse. In fact, they have hit only one home run all season. They get creative with manufacturing runs.
“We’ve got kids 1-9 that have ways of getting on base other than getting hits,” Sieben said.
Rock Creek baseball will face Bishop Ward in the first round, who they lost to in the first round three years ago.
“I remember they were really good,” pitcher/center fielder Brooks Whaley said. “They talked a lot. We’re ready for the challenge and ready to get back against them.”
“This team’s been through a lot of adversity and I think we’ve been through a lot together,” pitcher/shortstop Mason Sturdy said. “We’re playing as a team right now and that’s really what it takes to win State.”
Both teams are confident in their abilities to make it through the state tournament, and both are ready to cheer each other on. The tournaments run Thursday-Friday.