First-year softball coach Kim Waltman understands she has a team full of perfectionists at Rose Hill, whether they are on the field or in the classroom.
And while she acknowledges that is a good thing, it can also hamper growth.
“No one’s going to be perfect,” Waltman said. “We’re still struggling with that. It’s something we talk about every single day. We run drills to make them more comfortable and get past it. Once they get past it, they’ll be very hard to beat.”
Rose Hill took a leap foward on Monday night when it beat visiting Clearwater 8-5 in Game 1 and 12-2 in six innings in the nightcap. Rose Hill improved to 4-4, while Clearwater suffered its first losses and is 4-2.
“Usually when we get down, we get really down on ourselves,” said Rose Hill shortstop Brooke Talbert, who had four RBIs and scored two runs in Game 2. “This game we didn’t even think about the score, we just had fun.”
Clearwater had a 2-0 lead through the first three innings of the first game, but Rose Hill answered in a big way, scoring seven runs in the fourth to take a lead it never lost. Shanae Strate had a two-run triple in the fourth.
“We started off a little rocky,” said Waltman, who was a Rose Hill assistant for eight seasons. “I finally came in and said, ‘It’s time. You guys got to believe in each other. We’ve got to make it happen.’ As soon as they got their confidence, they took off.”
Clearwater tried to answer, getting three runs over the fifth and sixth innings. Clearwater senior Bryna Vogel had an RBI triple, while Elise Oberlecher reached on a grounder to first, scoring a run.
“Once you get behind you can’t pay attention to the scoreboard,” Clearwater coach Chuck Schrader said. “You have to focus in on that at-bat and concentrate and get the best you can out of that.
“It made me extremely proud that we played through a big inning and battled back. But we didn’t seem to have the mental energy in our tank.”
After Rose Hill’s Peyton Wheeler, who relies on her offspeed pitches, got the Game 1 win, it was the hard-throwing Christine Dock who shut down Clearwater in the second game. Dock faced the minimum through three innings before giving up her no-hitter when Vogel hit a single. Vogel later scored.
But Clearwater only mustered three hits off Dock, while Rose Hill had 11 hits. Rose Hill’s Dani Sherwin had two hits and four RBIs.
“We were just so pumped (in the first game) and everyone was cheering each other,” Tolbert said. “Our momentum carried on from the first game. We just came in and rocked it tonight, especially the second game.”
Rose Hill 8, Clearwater 5
|Clearwater||020||012||0||—||5 9 2|
|Rose Hill||000||710||x||—||8 8 7|
W —Wheeler. L —Teufel.
Rose Hill 12, Clearwater 2
|Clearwater||000||110||x||—||2 3 3|
|Rose Hill||064||011||x||—||12 11 2|
W — Dock. L — Teufel.
Rose Hill's Brooke Talbert
Rose Hill's Dani Sherwin
Rose Hill coach Kim Waltman