The 14-0 score never came up as Fort Calhoun coach Ginger Appel talked about her Pioneers in a postgame interview.
She instead explained why Tuesday's Jamboree exhibition softball game against Tekamah-Herman was a exactly what her team needed. After all, the coach's squad is young and several players were in new position on their home field.
“That's why I like that they added the Jamboree — for us to get a good look at what we have,” Appel said. “We have a day now to try and put it together before our first game, but this was a great opportunity for us to see where we're at and kind of go from there.”
Before Fort Calhoun opened the season on the road Thursday, it fell behind the Tigers 8-0 through one inning. Errors and passed balls cost the Pioneers during the top half of the frame before senior Kennedy Bradburn tallied her team's lone hit on an infield single during the bottom half.
From there, though, Appel's team looked more comfortable, substituting players and establishing a rhythm for the game. In one example, the coach shouted encouragement at Dru Tripp loudly in left field after the sophomore ran up to backup third base.
“We're talking to them all the time,” Appel said. “Every pitch we're thinking ball, base, backup — and sometimes we don't see them execute that. So, it is pretty exciting when we see them going where we need them to go. Dru did exactly that.”
While the Tekamah-Herman runs did add up and the game ended after just three innings, the Pioneers did get to put some of their less-experienced players to the test. Appel specifically brought up Victoria Perez as an an example. The junior had just caught her first game behind the plate.
“She was one that came to me and was, like, 'I would love to try it,'” Appel said. “And she has really stepped up and taken charge. That's all that we ask, that they want it.”
Though the score got away from Fort Calhoun, its team did provide highlights on the field — where the coach said the Pioneers will need continued improvement. Mackenzie Hansen chased and tracked down a deep fly ball in centerfield, Tripp caught her own fly ball in left and Lucy Hubbard, a sophomore batter, drew a patient walk.
All three of those plays could matter when the Fort Calhoun and coach Appel start talking about final scores. The team hosts Logan View on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.