Lambert softball head coach Brooks Youngblood wanted to play Denmark for a while.
There were practical reasons for that: It was a potential chance for his younger players to see some action. But the motive ran much deeper. Youngblood, once an assistant for the squad he now leads, worked under former head coach Dana Corr, wife of current Denmark athletic director Jamie Corr.
For Denmark’s first-ever softball matchup against another county team on Monday night, Dana was in the Danes’ dugout as an assistant, back to her old stomping grounds at Lambert.
“It’s a respect kind of thing,” Youngblood said. “I learned a lot from her and from her husband. They kind of taught me everything as far as coaching and just getting that experience… She started Lambert from nothing, too. I appreciate them and I wanted to play them because of that.”
The reunion turned out to be a short one, with Lambert powering through its batting order twice in the first two innings on its way to handing Denmark a 12-1 loss in five innings.
Heading into Monday, both teams were coming off some negative outings. A bloop single was the only thing that kept a perfect game from being thrown against the Longhorns on Thursday, and as a young first year squad, the Danes have struggled all season since winning their first game in blowout fashion.
“We’re trying to get better every time we come out here,” Denmark head coach David Smart said. “It’s been kind of a roller coaster. There’s been some moments where we’re pretty good and some moments where we’re not real good. That’s just part of being young and trying to keep moving forward.”
In the first, the Longhorns wasted no time in getting their offense back into gear. Lindsey Nelson scored from second after a throwing error at shortstop, and a double from Ansley Dean brought in Brooke Miller and Allie Sewell. A Kaley Varner triple scored two more, and Lambert ended the opening frame up 5-0.
In the circle for Lambert was Riley Rollings, who benefited from having a cushion of runs to work with. She pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run, one hit and a walk, striking out three.
“It was nice to get some offense going,” Rollings said. “We had some trouble on Thursday with that. It was good to get a lot of runs and gain some confidence. We know we have a good offensive team and we know we have good hitters but it’s tough going through a game like that. This was a good way to get out of that slump.
Lambert effectively put the game away in the second, plating seven more runners on RBI knocks from Sewell, Dean and Madison Todd. Two fielding errors on Denmark helped Lambert keep the inning going.
The Danes were able to avoid a shutout, with Morgan Kilmer coming across in the top of the third on an RBI single from Taylor Gajdik, the only hit Denmark could muster. Lambert sat some of its starters in favor of some younger players as the mercy-rule shortened game went on.
Dean led the Longhorns at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Todd and Varner added two RBIs each.