Camdenton softball unable to dig out of early hole against Kickapoo

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Camdenton senior Katy Pitts eyes her pitch in a game against Kickapoo on Tuesday, September 16, in Camdenton. Pitts hit an RBI triple in the second inning.

It was a situation Camdenton has faced before.

The Lakers hosted Kickapoo Tuesday night and after the Chiefs got off to a hot start, plating eight runs in the first two innings, the only choice for Camdenton was to find a way to claw back into it. Unfortunately, Kickapoo pitchers did not offer a helping hand as the Lakers fell 11-2 in the Ozark Conference battle.

“That has kind of been what we’ve unfortunately been into this year. We get down the first two innings, but what I’m really proud about with these girls is how well they handle that,” Camdenton coach Tyler Dinsdale said. “They don’t let that get to them and continue to fight all the way through. We are bearing ourselves down the first few innings and it is hard to get out of. A lot of times when you look at it, we actually win from inning two on the rest of the game. It is just getting us to start that way as opposed to coming out inning three and doing that.”

Kickapoo scored its first run of the night in the first inning in the simplest and most direct way with a solo home run over the fence in left center. And the Chiefs continued to make solid contact throughout the night with 14 hits overall.

Camdenton sophomore pitcher Ryah Moore got the start in the circle and while she only walked a single batter, the Chiefs did not let too many pitches get by in the strike zone as they tacked on eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits while Moore struck out one.

“That is one of the better hitting teams we are going to face so just keep throwing strikes, that is all you can do,” Dinsdale said of a Kickapoo team that improved to 9-1 overall with the win. “Hopefully, we make plays behind her so that is what we want her to do. She did good, threw strikes and what we wanted her to do. They were making good contact on the ball.”

After Moore got 1 2/3 innings of work, junior Mackenzie Daniels came in to take care of the rest and she allowed three runs, none earned, on five hits while striking out one and walking two. Dinsdale noted that with Daniels having a little more speed, the pitching duo can be effective together moving forward.

“Our goal was to get them one time through the lineup and have Mackenzie go in and see what she can get done,” Dinsdale said of the junior who also plays volleyball in the fall. “She did a good job in there throwing strikes with command. Starting off with a first-pitch strike is always good so that is part of our plan and we did it pretty well tonight, just not as good as they did.”

Kickapoo pitchers stayed fairly consistent overall as the Lakers managed to plate both of their runs in the second inning and could not generate much else. The Lakers managed just three total hits on the night, drew five walks and faced 11 strikeouts.

Utilizing some plate discipline, junior Adelyn Enos started the inning with a leadoff walk and advanced to second and third on a pair of past balls. After freshman Jamiee Hendrix also drew a walk, she was picked off on a steal attempt at second base which allowed Enos to score from third. Daniels also drew a walk and after she stole second, senior Katy Pitts drove her home with an RBI triple down the right field line.

“There were a few times we had runners at first and second or second and third and had RBIs out there where we just did not quite get the hit we needed to at that moment. We had some unfortunate strikeouts that tend to pop up and we just need to work on that,” Dinsdale said of the offense. “Our plan approach was better, getting the five walks, and we are pretty good about doing that, especially against pitching of this caliber. We just need to make contact and that was probably one of the better pitchers we’ve seen this year as far as speed and command.”

Camdenton (2-7, 0-3 OC) will be back on the diamond at the Jefferson City Tournament Friday and Saturday. Dinsdale said he is just looking for this group to keep playing hard. The Lakers had three girls unavailable Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic and two are starters.

“We played really good and I know the scores the last two games don’t show it but we played pretty good all the way through. We’ve gone against Battle and Kickapoo, two really good offensive teams,” the coach noted. “Just keep playing good softball and wins are going to come. Once we get our starters back and keep gelling, I think we are going to be good going forward.”