Illini Prairie Conference softball
On a warm and sunny Tuesday afternoon in Pontiac, both the Indians and the Saints of Bloomington Central Catholic struggled to get anything going offensively. Despite solid performances by both pitchers, it was the Saints who came away with a 4-1 Illini Prairie Conference softball victory in nine innings.
Most of the offensive action in the game came in the final inning. After Pontiac sophomore pitcher Regan Krause opened the top of the ninth with an out, things fell apart for the Indians.
It all started with an error by second baseman Madisyn Webster. BCC’s Harley Schade was able to advance to second on the play as the ball went out of play. She then made it to third on a wild pitch.
After Krause walked shortstop Charlie Sartoris, the Saints were able to take the lead on a bloop single to left field by Kayla Stinger. Krause would strike out the next batter before Bailey Coffman found the right field gap with a two-out, two-run double to push the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Saints.
Despite a leadoff double to begin the bottom half of the inning by freshman center fielder Alyssa Fox, the Indians were unable to muster up any sort of a rally. From there, the Indians went down in order as Saints pitcher Izzy Vetter struck out Maddi Stark to end the ball game.
The Indians had trouble getting anything going against Vetter the entire game. Vetter, an Evansville recruit, sat down 16 Indians on strikes in her complete game performance. She yielded just one run on three hits and walked four.
“A lot of it is just her speed,” Pontiac head coach Nicole Hayner said of Vetter. “She is a great pitcher; great competitor. She knows what she is doing. We knew that we were going to have to adjust to her speed, take our time, and lay off of the high stuff. We did OK there, but we could have done a bit better.”
The lone run for the Indians in the contest came from a lead off solo shot from senior third baseman Emma Jacobs in the fourth inning, which tied the game at 1-1.
The Saints received their first run in the top half of the inning. Schade reached first on an infield single to start the inning. Sartoris reached on a bunt single, and advanced to second on an errant throw to first. Schade was thrown out at home on the following play, but Sartoris scored on a wild pitch to give the Saints their first run of the game.
After the fourth, both pitchers were able to settle back in until the ninth. The only other time the Indians got anything going was in the sixth inning, as Addison Masching was hit by a pitch and Webster reached on a bunt single to start the inning. But Vetter was able to get out of the jam and keep the score tied.
“We missed our bunt opportunities,” Hayner said. “We had girls on base and just couldn’t get them down. We are struggling a bit with that now, but one game at a time we are going to get over that.”
Krause finished the game allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits. She struck out 13 batters and walked two.
Jacobs homered, Alyssa Fox doubled and Webster singled for the Tribe's base hits.