Prep softball: Late offense spurs Adna past Rochester in season-opener


ADNA – Perhaps the power that was on display for the Adna High School softball team last season may not be duplicated this spring.

Yet the pop that vaulted the Pirates to a Class 2B state title showed up when they needed it most on Wednesday night.

Leadoff hitter Kendall Humphrey ripped a line-drive solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie and ignite Adna to a 2-0 season-opening victory over Rochester on Wednesday night at Adna High School.

“I was expecting outside, but it was right where I wanted it,” Humphrey said. “It feels good.”

It was a classic pitcher’s duel with two returning all-area right-handers back in the circle. Adna’s Ava Simms and Rochester’s Layna Demers each notched 12 strikeouts and matched zeros on the scoreboard.

Simms attacked the Warriors with her fastball down the middle; Demers hammered the outside part of the plate and got the Pirates chasing several times.

“She stuffed us pretty good for a while,” Adna head coach Bruce Pocklington said. “We looked for our pitch a little better.”

The lack of offense didn’t surprise Rochester coach Joni Lancaster.
“That’s exactly how I expected it to go,” she said. “That’s one of the best hitting teams we’re going to see all year.”

Eventually, the Pirates broke through.

Humphrey needed to see just one pitch that was right in her sweet spot to launch her first homer of the season. Margarite Humphrey roped a double, then Danika Hallom recorded an RBI single to increase the cushion.

“I thought early we were a little tentative and then we had some big hits when it was time to,” Pocklington said.

Simms registered her final three strikeouts, all looking, in the seventh to preserve the win. The junior allowed five hits and danced out of a pair of jams with runners in scoring position.

“It is exciting for me. I have a lot of trust in these guys,” Simms said. “I definitely hit the weight room. It is not about the strikeouts, it is about producing outs."

Rochester stranded six runners between the second and fifth innings. It had the go-ahead run 60 feet from home and the threat ended on a groundout in the fifth.

It was an area that Lancaster noted was a struggle last season to drive in runs in key moments.

“That’s kind of our focus,” she said. “When we get on and do our job, we (got) to finish. I’m happy with where we’re at.”

The departure of six seniors, including co-C2BL MVPs in Karlee Von Moos and Brooklyn Loose, has Adna looking to a group of double digit freshmen to step into big shoes. The first four batters in its lineup are the most experienced and that quartet had all seven hits on Wednesday.

Even as the defending champs, the Pirates aren’t looking too far ahead.

“Getting the machine oiled,” Simms said. “One step at a time, one game at a time.”

Just missing the Class 2A District 4 tournament has been gnawing at Rochester all off-season. Losing six seniors plus getting younger as the Warriors coming down to earth in terms of season-wide expectations.

“We’re hungry, we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder,” Lancaster said. “Our goals are set on districts.”