Lady Dragons pick up first win, late rally comes upshort
The Cameron High School Lady Dragon Softball Team picked up their first win after edging Excelsior Springs 4-3.
A sixth-inning single by Caitlin Mick made the difference Monday afternoon as the Lady Dragons knocked off the Lady Tigers, evening their record at 1-1 after their 8-run rally in the seventh inning fell short during their season opener against Midland Empire Conference foe Lafayette last Friday.
“It felt pretty good. We corrected a few things from the Friday before,” Cameron Coach Kristy Stover said. “… When you see improvement from the day before, it’s a huge accomplishment. Excelsior Springs is a pretty good team. They are going to be at the top of their conference probably and a district opponent. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Lady Dragons avenge blowout
One indicator of the Lady Dragons’ potential may be their recent performances against teams who cruised to victory in 2019, but saw much rougher waters in 2020.
Following a 15-4 pounding in 2019, Cameron was more formidable in 2020 with both teams trading run-for-run with the Lady Dragons eventually coming out on top. After a two-run fourth inning by the Lady Tigers, the Lady Dragons responded with Reygan Clark stealing home on a passed ball, then Mick drove in MaKayla Proven, who went 2-2 on the day. Excelsior Springs took the lead in the fifth, but Proven’s line drive double in the sixth plated Clark, then Mick drove in Proven for the game-winning run.
“You just have to pick your spot and send it. I think we’re doing really good. I’m feeling good about this year,” Proven said. “I’m ready. I hope we get to play the whole year … Where I’m at now is pretty good. In a couple of weeks, I hope to not miss a ball and maybe move up in the lineup.”
Late rally not enough
to overtake Lafayette
The Lady Dragons nearly avenged an 8-1 season ending loss to the Lafayette Lady Irish, but their late-game heroics could not overshadow fielding mistakes. While a 14-12 score may lead some readers to believe last Friday was a slugfest, they would be mistaken.
Cameron caught fire early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on a slap bunt for an RBI by Gracie Arth and an RBI double by Laine Jospeh. Lafayette preferred a small-ball approach, utilizing bunting for force numerous fielding errors and eventually taking a 6-2 lead into the fourth. Cameron closed the gap with a heads-up play by Jada Potts, who crossed home plate on a double steal. Maddie Jessen, who also tallied six strikeouts, then drove in Clark after taking a pitch to the fence on a line drive.
A four-run sixth and seventh inning made Lafayette’s 14-4 lead almost insurmountable, but the Lady Dragons did not shirk away from the challenge in the final at bat. A bases loaded walk by Clark scored Cameron’s first run, then Potts and Carissa Oxford scored on a throwing error from third base. Clark tagged up at third to score Cameron’s fourth run, which was also their first out.
Following a rare strikeout by Jessen, Arth plated a pair of runs on an RBI single, then Liberty Williams pulled Cameron within two runs with a towering home-run over the center field wall.
“I was glad I hit the ball. Whenever I step into the batter’s box that’s all I’m trying to do,” Williams said. “We just realized we needed to step it up. Our whole team took hold. We stepped it up and showed them what we can do. It shows we’re in it to win it. We’re going to fight, even when we’re down.”