Strong season ends for Lady Rockets
By Julia Green
The remarkable 2009 season came to a close for the Roxbury softball team last Tuesday, when the visiting Rockets dropped a tough 6-2 decision to the host Eagles of Downsville in the quarterfinal round of the Section IV Class D tournament.
“We were there, we just didn’t have that usual spark,” said Roxbury Head Coach Jane Ware. “The kids played well, but in order to play a team that is as good as Downsville, you have to be at the top of your game.”
The Roxbury girls fell into an early hole, allowing the Eagles to score two runs in each of the first and second innings and another in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
“They just got on top,” Ware said. “We had two runs in the fifth – almost three – and we had people on and we had opportunities. We just didn’t get them across the plate.”
One of the Rockets’ offensive highlights came in the second inning, when Tarah DiBenedetto nailed a triple with only one out; however, the Roxbury offense was unable to get her home.
“She must have hit it 200 feet out there,” Ware said. “It was a shot. We just couldn’t score her.”
The Rockets got on the board in the fifth inning, gaining momentum and tallying two runs with two outs against them. Brianna George singled, followed by another single by Rachel Meckes, and Karly Bolger laid down a bunt single to push two runs across the plate.
Roxbury pitcher Heather Davie tallied eight strikeouts and four walks and had one hit batter in the game. Meckes led the offense with a 2-for-4 showing.
This year’s success was quite a turnaround from last year, when the Rockets posted a 3-13 overall record and finished last in their league.
“We went from last on our side to tied for first, so that was very nice,” Ware said. “It wasn’t expected, so it was a nice ride. We weren’t expected to beat state-ranked Jefferson and Downsville when the season started, and they just kept playing well and doing very well, and upset a bunch of teams where it wasn’t expected.”
The Rockets will lose seniors Karly Bolger, Marlise Cammer, Danyelle Greene and Jessica Utsler to graduation.
“Danyelle and Karly led the infield really nicely,” Ware said. “Danyelle never stopped talking, always told them the situation, so that was very nice defensively. Karly led by example: she stole bases all the time, laid down gorgeous bunts, and was always aggressive on defense.”
Ware will be looking to her four rising seniors to fill those leadership roles next season, and is also expecting good things from a number of players who played at the modified level this year.
“Our modified team was undefeated, so I should have some talented young ladies moving up,” she said. “Replacing the infield’s going to be tough, but everybody keeps telling me my outfielders were infielders, so my sophomore class as a whole will hopefully come in and lead the infield. That’s what I’m hoping for. They played infield at the modified level and they were playing outfield waiting their turn, so hopefully they’ll step it up and come in.
“At the athletic banquet, I was still flying on cloud nine,” she added. “I adored it. It was such a big turnaround and so many great things happened. It was a nice ride.”