JASPER — Like a snowball being rolled down a mountain, the Tri-West Bruins softball team continues to gain momentum in their postseason run through the state tournament and show no signs of stopping.
The latest victims to be engulfed by Tri-West were the Boonville Pioneers as they stood in the way of the Bruins and the school’s first semistate title.
Tri-West started fast and then closed strong to outdistance the Pioneers 5-3 for the Class 3A, Jasper semistate title and a chance to play for a state championship.
“This team deserves it more than anyone,” Tri-West coach Stacey Rogers said. “It just keeps happening and it’s hard to put into words because they’ve worked so hard for this. To see it come true is just so amazing.”
All three facets of the Bruins’ game were on display for everyone to see Monday night and, unfortunately for the Pioneers, each was as impressive as the next.
Sophomore pitcher Marita VanDyke threw two games in one day for the first time all season and was rock solid from the mound while fighting through nervous pressure.
“It’s definitely on me and I know the seniors are counting on those pitches,” VanDyke said. “But I know if I don’t hit those pitches I have my defense back there. I don’t let (pressure) roll off and it’s in the back of my head that we have to get this done.”
Tri-West senior Taylor Heath helped VanDyke through a couple of rough spots in the game, bringing a smile and words of encouragement to the mound each time.
“There’s just no better way to deal with stress than to laugh it off,” Heath said. “I’m speechless at this point, I’ve played travel ball al my life and nothing has ever meant this much”