All in all, the games meant nothing as they were exhibitions used for getting in some playing time before the season
WAYNESVILLE — Even though Thursday was an exhibition doubleheader between the Camdenton and Waynesville softball teams, it still was difficult for the Tigers to swallow two losses to the rival Lakers.
Especially the first, being a 20-2 trouncing.
This all comes with a disclaimer though — both teams were missing several starters.
Waynesville was without Diamond Thomas, their number one pitcher. In fact, they were missing three varsity pitchers among some other regulars.
Kelly Jackson, Waynesville's coach, said she was even putting players in unfamiliar positions to cover up the holes left by absent players.
“I was playing girls in positions they usually don't play,” Jackson said. “Especially when it comes time to starting on the varsity level.”
Camdenton was able to throw a varsity pitcher in the first game though, helping them stymie Waynesville's offensive attack.
In the top of the first, during the first game of the twin-bill, the Lakers crushed the ball for 13 runs.
Hope Johns hit a 2-run blast over the centerfield wall as a part of the run parade.
Johns said she usually doesn't have that kind of success when putting the bat on the ball, but she followed one of her coach's instructions and good things happened.
“I was just really trying to get some power on the ball,” Johns said. “Whenever I'm in the box I try to focus. It's probably when I'm the most focused on the field.”
One bright spot for Waynesville was an eighth-grader that stepped up to fill in for those missing in action.
Afatia Poinsette tripled to center in her first at-bat (in the bottom of the first) for the Tigers and came in to score two batters later to score Waynesville's first run.
Camdenton piled on in the top of the second with seven more runs, with Erin Rasmussen cranking a 3-run bomb for the Lakers' second homer of the game.
Since the only offense came from Poinsette, again, when she hit an infield single and scored on an error later, the Tigers couldn't avoid the run-rule and they lost 20-2.
The second game was much closer.
With the teams switching home and away spots on the scoreboard, Waynesville took first bats.
Katelyn Miller swatted an RBI double to left-center to take an early 1-0 lead, but Camdenton quickly stole that back with a couple of runs in the bottom of the frame.
The Tigers scored another run in the top of the second to tie the game at two.
Again, in the bottom of the second the Lakers scored two and Camdenton was back on top 4-2. A wild pitch scored another run for Camdenton in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth, Poinsette tripled (her second of the day) and scored on a fielder's choice.
In the same half-inning, Miller scored on a fielder's choice too and the score was 5-4.
With two outs, and the tying run on base, a smash-hit was caught in centerfield and the Tigers fell in the shortened second game to Camdenton.
Neither coach showed much emotion to the games, knowing that they were nothing more than a glorified practice.
Camdenton’s coach Rick Calbert, afterwards, talked mostly about looking forward to the season.
“The Ozark Conference is going to be tough, but we feel like we're going to be right in the mix,” Calbert said. “We're pretty young, sitting on only a couple seniors, but we're returning four second-team all-district players. That's the first time we've had that many all-district players.
“We just have to stay away from injuries and things will have to fall right,” Calbert said. “But if they do, it could be a very good year for us.”
Jackson, was a little more generic.
“It was a good time to get some of the girls some playing time and some at-bats,” Jackson said.
Everyone left with the same parting words — it'll be closer, and more exciting, the next time these two meet.