Key hit drives Camdenton past West Plains

One hit can make all the difference in the game of softball.

For Camdenton junior Emma Uthe, that hit came Tuesday night in an Ozark Conference battle with West Plains. With the score tied at 2 in the sixth inning, Uthe drove an RBI single up the middle that led to a 3-2 win over the Zizzers.

“I was just really excited and happy that I hit the ball,” Uthe said. “I just try to do the best that I can do for my team.”

Camdenton junior Shelby Webster got the offense started with a 2-run homer in her first game back from injury and junior Sidney Jones became the winning run after her triple in the sixth inning.

Another key factor was the play of junior pitcher Haile Farris who threw a complete game with seven strikeouts and five hits. Farris improved to 5-1 on the year with a 1.32 ERA and she has also recorded two saves. Camdenton coach Rick Calbert said the pitching success can largely be attributed to pitching coach Elizabeth Grover.

“She has done a good job of calling games, studying batters and making adjustments,” Calbert said of his assistant. “She is kind of our unsung hero and she does a heck of a job.”

After the three-headed monster Camdenton displayed in 2016 finished the regular season with a team ERA of 1.70, Grover said a big difference this year was being able to keep her pitchers in game shape by having less starters to put out there.

“It is a lot easier to keep your pitchers in pitching shape and game shape when there are not as many. That was a real struggle last year trying to keep them all in shape and give them the pitching time they all deserved,” Grover noted. “It is easier doing that with one pitcher and Hailey has come out and done what she has needed to so far.

“She has worked a lot harder than last year, but it is really paying off. Even when we are struggling to find the strike zone, when she is on it is easy. We can work around finding the strike zone... We’ve also got Emma Rakes coming in, picking up some of the games and helping her out and she does a great job too on the rubber,” she added.

Camdenton (7-1, 2-1 Ozark Conference) was scheduled to visit Pleasant Hope on Thursday and travel to Jefferson City on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Eldon falls at California

It was a tough outing for Eldon Tuesday night at California.

The Mustangs took on the Pintos in Tri-County Conference action and the home team defended its diamond with a 10-0 shutout in five innings. California put up four runs in the first and second innings and never looked back.

The Mustang offense mustered just one hit on the night from Madison VanHooser while the team suffered 10 strikeouts. Unfortunately VanHooser, who provided the team’s only offensive spark, took the loss on the mound as the hurler allowed four earned runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out two batters as well.

Eldon (1-10) was scheduled to host Blair Oaks Thursday night and the Mustangs return to the diamond on Tuesday night to host Eugene at 5 p.m.