With the playoffs officially under way, the Cotter High School softball team can’t afford any big errors or its season will be cut dramatically short of what it envisioned.

The Ramblers got off on the right foot Monday, tallying a 7-3 win over Lake City in the first round of the MSHSL 1AA East subsection tournament. Cotter will play Plainview-Elgin-Millville at 5 p.m. Thursday at home in the second round.

“Overall it was a good game,” Cotter coach Pat Bowlin said. “Just to get a win was all we were concerned about.”

Bowlin was happy to see his team shake off the sloppiness that plagued Cotter’s 10-9 win against La Crescent last week.

“We didn’t play well (against La Crescent). That was our last game before the playoffs so it had me very worried,” Bowlin said.

The Ramblers (18-4) came out and played much better, but Bowlin still wants to see more out of the Ramblers on the offensive side of things

“I’m not real pleased with our offense, although we got seven runs,” Bowlin said. “We left a lot of people on base. We need to hit better with people on base.”

Eighth-grader Alexis Hadaway has been filling in for the injured Isabel Northrop and has been taking on the lion’s share of the pitching load.

The transition has had its highs and lows, but Bowlin is impressed with the way someone Hadaway is carrying herself at the varsity level.

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“I’ve never seen, for a young kid, incredible poise,” Bowlin said. “She fielded her position great (Monday). That was a big part of the game (Monday).”

Hadaway said that the older players have been really accepting of her and have helped contribute to her successes.

For example: Gabby Bowlin came into the game batting .560 and had another three-hit-game, taking pressure off of the pitcher.

“They (the older players) are really supportive,” Hadaway said. “I didn’t think that I was going to fit in, but they’ve helped a lot.”

There’s still a chance Northrop plays this season. She has an appointment this week with the doctor and an X-ray will determine if she gets to come back or not.

According to Bowlin, its 50-50 at this point.

As much as everyone in the Cotter dugout would like Northrop back, they are confident and are willing to continue to rally behind Hadaway’s arm.

“If we have to go the rest of the way with Lexie, I believe we can win it,” Bowlin said. “It’s going to be a little harder, but we’re going to go great guns whatever happens here. We’ve got a good team and we want to keep our season going.”

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