Big bats, solid pitching leads Lakers to sectionals
Make it two straight district titles for the Camdenton softball team.
The Lakers took on rival Lebanon for the district championship Friday night in Willard and had no trouble dispatching the Yellowjackets with a 10-0 shutout in five innings.
"I think it says a lot about the dedication of our players and their hard work," Camdenton coach Rick Calbert said of the achievement. "I think it also says a lot about the willingness of parents to put forward time and effort to get kids to travel ball, to practices and to get them to the level they are at.
"It is a great group of young ladies and we have a great athletic director and administration that supports us in everything we do. It takes a community and a school willing to make the program as competitive as it has been. It started with Coach (Kim) Vest and we have had a lot of great players come through and come by and support us. It is a nice tradition and something we hope goes on for a long time," the coach added.
Camdenton did most of its damage in the second inning as the Lakers broke the deadlock with seven runs and did not look back, adding three more runs in the sixth to end it via the run rule. Haile Farris, Faith Rakes and Emma Uthe each put home runs for the Lakers with Farris putting up her third grand slam of the season. The Lakers racked up 10 total hits and were paced by Farris' four RBIs while Rakes put up three and both Uthe and Haley Wheat added one each.
Those seven early runs were more than enough for Farris on the mound as she worked all six innings and allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out 14.
It was a successful night across the board and Calbert says the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit.
"I have three assistants who do a fantastic job. Coach (Tyler) Hinsdale works with the hitters and our defense, Coach (Elizabeth) Grover works with our pitchers and calls pitches while Coach (Hannah) Campbell works with our catchers and helps put together our game plan," the coach pointed out."
He also took some time to thank the fans for their support and strong showing at the tournament in Willard.
"We are happy with all the fan support at Willard and it was almost like some home games," Calbert said. "The team has high expectations for themselves and they are living up to it."
Camdenton improves to 21-9 on the season and it is the third straight year the Lakers have posted 20 or more wins. Now, the Lakers turn their attention to a familiar foe in Blue Springs South (21-9) who ended Camdenton's season a year ago in sectional action with a 7-3 win. Colbert is confident his group can get a better result this time around.
"Nobody comes out of a district that is not a really good team so we are all good teams now. It is going to be who brings the best game that day," the coach said of the matchup. "We feel like we have one of the better pitchers in the state (Farris), good defense and a strong offense.
"Shelby Webster broke the single season home run record this year. We are capable of the long ball, but also the short game so we feel like a really well-rounded team and hard to game plan for because of that," he added.
Camdenton will make the trip up to Blue Springs South on Wednesday night hoping to punch its ticket to the state quarterfinals. First pitch is currently scheduled for 4:30 p.m.