Freshman Camden Simon came up with a gigantic hit for the Roff Lady Tigers against local rival Latta during a classic slowpitch softball matchup Monday night at Tiger Field.
Simon, certainly not known for her power hitting, launched a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh that capped a nine-run RHS rally.
After she crossed home plate, the scoreboard read 15-14 in favor of the home team.
The Lady Tigers celebrated. Simon got lots of hugs and high-fives. Everyone shook hands and started getting ready for a junior varsity contest.
It was a fairytale moment for Simon and the Lady Tigers. It was the first time in her varsity career that she knocked the ball over the fence. In fact, she had just four total RBIs this spring before the monster mash.
“We’ve been talking a lot about putting a full swing on the ball, and she dang sure did,” said Roff head coach Jason Trimmer.
What a great tale to tell. However, the story — and the game — didn’t end there.
Roff players went down the left field sideline to huddle up, and Latta players did the same on their side of the field. That’s when Roff’s freshman bookkeeper got Trimmer’s attention and told him she had the score 15-15.
“Are you sure?” Trimmer asked.
After scouring the scorebook for a few seconds, he too counted 15 Latta runs instead of 14.
“I looked at it and by the time I turned around, the umpires had already left the field,” he explained. “At that point, I’m thinking maybe we messed up. Latta hasn’t said anything. Maybe they had 14, just like the scoreboard had.”
While the umpires were taking a short break before the junior varsity game, Latta head coach Missy Rogers finally came over to the Roff dugout and asked what score their book had. Trimmer agreed after Simon’s big blow, the game should have been tied 15-15.
Rogers asked if there was anything that could be done, but at that point, the game was officially over.
When the umpires returned, they told both coaches that the slowpitch rulebook says once game officials leave the field, it’s over. Roff had officially won 15-14, despite the scoreboard mistake.
To make sure, Trimmer had an umpire call the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to make sure. OSSAA officials confirmed that once umpires left the field, the game was over. Although it was a huge error, the correct ending should have been a victory for the Lady Tigers.
Although disappointed, Trimmer said Rogers was ready to accept the loss with class.
“She was obviously upset, but she was gracious. She took it well,” he said.
However, Trimmer didn’t take the win very well at all. Even though he had every right to and made sure it was the right call, getting a victory in that fashion just wasn’t sitting well with him.
“I was sitting over there during the whole JV game, thinking I can’t do it. I was feeling slimy. I can’t win like that. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight,” he said.
Near the end of the JV game, Trimmer asked the umpires if they were willing to stick around, and they agreed. He then approached Rogers and the Lady Panthers and suggested the two teams finish what they started. He wanted to pick the game up right where it left off — tied at 15-all, with the Lady Tigers still batting with two out.
Rogers agreed, and the umpires and fans had some bonus softball.
“Their girls’ eyes just lit up. That was a big momentum shift,” Trimmer said. “The pressure was on us, having to lose that feeling of winning and they had all this hope to win.”
By now, you can probably guess the rest of the story. Roff didn’t score any more in the bottom of the seventh. Latta pushed across five runs in the top of the eighth, and the Lady Tigers could only counter with two tallies of their own.
Final score: Latta 20, Roff 17. This time it stood. Trimmer and the Lady Tigers went from winning to losing, just like that.
“It stinks. My kids were disappointed, and I was hearing a lot of chatter outside the fence,” he said. “I told the girls I wasn’t taking anything away from them. I told them I was still just as proud of them and their resilience for coming back from eight runs down. As far as I’m concerned, we won a ballgame and lost a ballgame today.”
After the game was over, Simon texted Trimmer and some of her teammates and said, “April Fool’s hit us hard!”
“It stinks because what a moment for Camden. That was pretty clutch. It says a lot about the type of player she is and who she’s going to be,” he said.
It was a game that players from both sides will probably never forget.
“I told them they’re going to remember this game for the rest of their lives, and what they’re going to remember about it is they did the right thing,” he said.
Anyone who knows Trimmer knows he hates to lose.
However, he’d much rather lose the right way than win the wrong way — on a technicality — and should be commended for it.