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Journey to state championship raises Holt to new heights despite loss

Holt Indians softball team members get ready to travel to the state championships.

Holt Indians softball team members get ready to travel to the state championships.

Getting blanked without a run in the Class 4 championship game was not exactly what the Holt Indians had planned for Saturday, Oct. 24, at Killian Sports Complex in Springfield.

The softball team had its state title hopes washed away thanks to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Lee’s Summit Tigers. But for Holt, which finished 26-6, this season was not just about winning a title. It  was about making a run to the state championship game and enjoying the journey.

“I think that was the best part about this experience for the coaches, our players and parents –  being able to do some things that maybe we weren’t supposed to be able to do and then being able to share that with our families and the school,” Holt coach Joel Adam said.

It was a season that saw the Indians along with Fort Zumwalt North win a share of the Gateway Central Conference championship, and reel off winning streaks of nine games at the season’s start and eight games at its end.

Their journey had been roughly two years in the making, but to get all the way to state, the Indians knew they would have to advance out of Class 4, District 8.

“We knew going into the season that if we were going to do anything like make a run to state we would have to get out of our district, which was one of the toughest in St. Louis going against second-ranked Francis Howell and fifth-ranked Troy,” Adam said. “Once we were able to get out of districts, we felt like we had the players and the team that could do something special.”

Junior pitcher/first baseman Meredith Adam (coach Adam’s daughter) and senior outfielder Mykaela Arellanes provided the power and big-time run production at the plate for the Indians.

“Meredith led the team in RBIs and was 10-1 for us in the circle (pitching) and just was solid every game,” Adam said. “Mykaela started off for us four years ago when all she could do was run fast,” Adam said. “But she worked on her hitting and defense in the offseason and became a tremendous player for us as a senior.”

Meredith hit .500 with six home runs, 33 runs scored, 14 doubles and 46 RBIs.

Arellanes hit a blazing .559 with three home runs, 11 doubles and 33 RBIs. She also racked up a team-high 42 runs.

Other major contributors to the Indians’ success were senior shortstop Kaylee Huecker (.388 avg.), junior outfielder Mel Taouil (.441 avg.), senior pitcher/infielder Natalie Rothmeyer, senior outfielder Nicole Rothmeyer, and sophomore pitcher/infielder Lexi Jones (.424 avg.)

Holt defeated Troy and Francis Howell in the Class 4, District 8 championship on Oct. 11 to advance to the quarterfinals and then beat Fort Zumwalt North and Parkway North in the sectionals and quarterfinals on Oct. 16 and Oct. 18.

The trip to state took on almost a surreal tone for Holt’s players on Oct. 23. That morning, as the Indians players, coaches and families prepared for the four-hour ride to Springfield, they were greeted by several hundred students, faculty and an enthusiastic drumline providing a send-off that would carry them all the way to state.

Holt did knock off Eureka in the semifinals on Oct 24, but Lee’s Summit was too much for the Indians in the title game on Oct. 25.

Although Holt did not get to the winner’s circle, there were no regrets for the Indians.

“I think we have a lot of pride because we won a tough district and then we were able to win sectionals and quarterfinals and make it to state for the first time since 1987,” Arellanes said. “I don’t think I could ask for a much greater experience for my senior year and I think the future is very bright for the players that come after me here.”

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