By BRYAN URBACH
ELKHART — Senior night is always a night to look back and reflect on the careers of a team’s veteran players.
Along with that, Elkhart saw a good look into the future with freshman Camryn Rucker striking out eight batters in the 4-0 win against Central Heights on Thursday night.
The seniors were honored before the game, saying kind words to one another along with coach Brandy Martin speaking to all of her girls.
“It means a lot for our seniors,” Martin said. “You want to go out with a good game at home. You want to go out with a win, especially with playoffs on the line. This game meant a lot to us as we’re fighting for third place. It was a big night, and our seniors kept our spirits up when it looked like our offense was struggling.”
The game itself was a pitcher’s duel for the first five and a half innings before Megan Davis was able to drive in an RBI single to start the scoring.
Courtney Cheatham followed her with another RBI single and Catie Bridges followed her with another one.
Finally, Tiffany Rosas finished the scoring off with a sacrifice bunt to move the runner home from third and bring the score to 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth.
From there, all the Lady Elks had to do to secure the win was continue to play the same defense they played all game and get the final three outs in the top of the seventh inning.
“I think we played defensively very well,” Martin said. “It took a little while for our bats to get going, but they came around. I knew they would, I just didn’t know when they would. We really were just trying to keep our defense strong while we waited for our bats to catch up.”
On the mound, Rucker had a strong outing. She had eight strikeouts and gave up just two walks and one hit on the night.
Martin said she likes the amount of effort that her freshman is putting in every game, and she is glad that she can trust her to get the job done.
“It’s odd because a lot of times when you see a freshman, they get really jittery and nervous, but with her, she’s the opposite of that,” Martin said. “She never seems to be nervous, and I never have a doubt in her. She throws really well and improves as the game goes on. I’m really excited about it for what the future holds for us and for her.”
The Lady Elks’ next game, depending on the winner of the Woden-Garrison game, may be on Monday with Woden to decide the third place finisher before heading into the playoffs.