Rolesville head coach Jennifer Cummings has made it clear to her team that the Rams’ youth – the program, in its second year, is again comprised of only freshmen and sophomores – will not be an excuse for under-performing.
So when Rolesville players set foot on the infield for the first time this season after weather conditions forced abbreviated tryouts and pushed most of the few practices indoors, the Rams responded appropriately. Rolesville scored five runs in the first inning Monday as it cruised to an 11-0 win in five innings at Enloe to open the season.
“They came out hitting the ball,” Cummings said. “I was very pleased with my pitchers, my catchers. The defense played great. Base-running looked good. It was a great first game.”
Freshman Laine Murdock led the Rams with two runs, three hits (two doubles) and three RBIs. Sophomore Madison Taylor chipped in three hits and two runs in the game that saw nine Rolesville players cross home.
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After the win, Cummings huddled with the players, pointing out situations they saw in the game, but hadn’t yet had a chance to practice.
“With little situations that we can’t do inside ... it was fresh in their heads,” Cummings said. “I said, ‘Do you remember this? This is how I want it to be.’ So as much as I can get in even between innings, after games, before games. Every little thing will help.”
Cummings looks back at the Rams’ inaugural season, ending in a 4-16 record, as a success. However, she expects the team to grow this season.
“This year I only have freshmen and sophomores again, and my freshmen are awesome players,” she said. “Not only are they awesome players skill-wise, but they know I don’t care if we’re only freshmen and sophomores. They know I expect us to win and I’m not using the freshman-sophomore excuse at all.
“As a whole, one through 10 on my roster, they are all determined to win. They aren’t going to give up. They know what I expect. ... We’re going out hard, and I think we can finish in the top of the conference and make a nice little string in the playoffs.”
Taylor, the starting pitcher, struck out four of seven batters in two innings pitched. Freshman reliever Summer Howerton followed with seven strikeouts in the final three innings.
“I’m excited for the season and finally to be outside,” Cummings said. “I can’t wait to see what these girls do.”
Rolesville is scheduled to travel to East Wake on Monday as the teams begin Greater Neuse River Conference play.