Should Rosary lose the Golden West League softball title because it was beaten by Westminster on Friday, Coach Tom Tice can gain comfort knowing he took the moral high road.
Confronted with the prospect of playing ninth-ranked Westminster without six players who missed practice a day earlier, Tice admitted he was tempted to throw a team rule out the window.
He didn't, and Westminster scored a 6-2 victory over the Royals at Buckingham Park in Westminster.
Rosary (15-8, 3-1), the preseason favorite, went down without its two pitchers, including Julie Luna, who shut out Westminster twice last season. Other missing players were the starting catcher, first baseman and second baseman. The Nos. 2 and 4 hitters in the lineup were among the absent.
Rosary had a half-day of school on Thursday devoted to counseling. Two players, including Luna, were sick, two had doctor's appointments, and two didn't offer excuses as to why they didn't attend school. A school rule states players must attend school in order to practice; a team rule stipulates they attend the preceding practice in order to play.
That left Tice in a quandary.
"I was tempted, but I think we did the right thing," he said. "We have seven sophomores and five juniors who realize the importance of school, who realize school comes first and softball second. . . . Everybody learned a lesson, directly or indirectly.
"I think they might have just forgotten the repercussions of staying home--it was kind of a domino effect."
The dominoes fell Westminster's way. The Lions (14-4, 2-0) got seven hits off Theresa Cronin, who made her varsity pitching debut, and stole six bases against catcher Jennifer Bailey, who was called up from the junior varsity.
Westminster's Kelly Hauxhurst had two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases; Roxanne Packard had two hits, two stolen bases and scored a run; and Lacy Hauxhurst had two hits and a run batted in.
"I was wondering what was going on," Westminster Coach Conway deSha said. "I was surprised--relieved. . . . Rosary's always been a problem for us in the past."