THE ROCK (KSNT) – Every player on the Rock Creek baseball team has gone out and declared themselves on the team every year.
But, for softball, it’s almost the opposite. For many girls, this is the first time they’ve had a state tournament experience.
“Since COVID, we’ve all been shot enough 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.”
The Mustang softball enters the tournament as an 8 seed, but they’re not afraid.
“The beauty of our team is that it’s 15 people,” said head softball coach Jeri Brummett. “So one day it’s Sophia, one day it’s Grace… There are 15 people who could intervene in any situation.”
They are fueled by strong throws and defense.
“I know Sophia, our pitcher, she’s really good and she’s just amazing, honestly,” said softball fielder Grace Gehl.
Mustangs prepare for anything they can foresee.
“Faster throws, like shots,” said Brooklyn Goehring, a softball shortstop. “Defensive turf work because we’ve never played turf before, so we just use the baseball field.”
Rock Creek will face seeded Cheney in the first round.
“We played all of these guys,” Brummet said. “I think we approach it like it’s the same kind of team we’ve played all year.”
It’s pretty much the same approach for Rock Creek baseball. The three pillars of their game are throwing, defense and two-out hits.
“We put a lot of pressure on teams in a number of ways,” said baseball head coach Shane Sieben.
Mustangs are not a home powerhouse. In fact, they’ve only hit one home run all season. They get creative with the manufacturing cycles.
“We have kids ages 1 to 9 who have ways of getting basics other than getting hits,” Sieben said.
Rock Creek baseball will face Bishop Ward in the first round, to whom they lost in the first round three years ago.
“I remember they were really good,” said pitcher / center-back Brooks Whaley. “They talked a lot. We are up to the challenge and ready to fight against them.
“This team has been through a lot of adversity and I think we’ve been through a lot together,” said pitcher / shortstop Mason Sturdy. “We’re playing as a team right now and that’s really what it takes to win State.”
Both teams are confident in their ability to make it through the state tournament, and both are ready to cheer each other on. Tournaments run from Thursday to Friday.