Trojans bump off Heyworth in sectional softball
It continues, that journey of steps toward the ultimate goal. Dwight completed the third step on its journey to the state finals with a 7-6 victory over Heyworth in the semifinal round of the Class 1A Dwight Sectional softball tournament Tuesday at Trojan Field.
The win puts the Trojans into the championship game Saturday against the winner of today’s game between Salt Fork and Argenta-Oreana. The winner of the sectional will advance to the supersectional next Monday at Illinois Wesleyan.
This was a rematch of last year’s sectional final at LeRoy. There had to be a little extra determination for payback, but the approach was more like taking care of business and moving on.
“Motivation was to let them know we weren’t going let them stomp all over us; that we’re here to play and we’re here to win,” said DTHS catcher Kaitlyn Masching, who came up big for the Trojans on this day.
Pitcher Abby Edwards had a different outlook. “It was come out and win this next game, it was just think of it as any other game. Nothing too special.”
But it was special, at least from the standpoint of being able to play another game. It was important as the Trojans keep working for toward that ultimate goal.
“We prepped for this girl (Heyworth’s Adyson Slayback) this week,” DTHS head coach Chuck Trainor said. “We knew what kind of speed she could throw. We stay pretty disciplined early for the first three or four innings. All in all, it was good to see us score those kind of runs on that good of pitcher.”
Dwight got the first run of the game, which was key after being shutout by the Hornets last year.
“That was huge,” Edwards said of scoring in the first inning. “We scored first, so I was happy with that, but when they scored after that, and then we came back, it felt so great.”
Dwight was actually the visiting team despite playing on its home field. The Trojans were able to get on the board when Masching hooked a double down the left field line that plated Edwards. Edwards drew a one-out walk and Macey Rodosky singled before the Masching smash.
Edwards then went to work in the circle and set down the Hornets in order. Such wasn’t the case the next time Heyworth came to bat.
The Hornets touched Edwards for a single, double and single in taking a 2-1 lead. Madison Riley, who delivered the two-run single, scored on an error three batters later.
But Dwight responded as championship clubs do, by getting on the board.
Katy Edwards led off the third with a double and Abby Edwards singled. She took second on the throw to the plate as Katy Edwards held at third base.
Rodosky then reached on a throwing error and Edwards and Edwards both scored to tie the game. Masching followed with a sharp single to right that plated Rodosky, who had reached third base on the error in her at bat, to make it 4-3.
“Previously, I was struggling a little bit,” Masching said of her batting. “I had good hits here and there but I learned the more you watch a pitcher, the more you learn about her. I watch the first strike to get hold of what she’s got and I adjust from there. I just look for contact.”
Masching had four runs batted in in this game and three in the regional championship.
“She’s an RBI machine,” Trainor said of Masching. “She doesn’t need to do anything fancy, she doesn’t need to overpower the ball, she just slaps it hard somewhere. She watches a lot of pitches, she really studies what comes across that plate.”
Dwight scored three more runs in the fourth inning to move out to a 7-3 advantage. Morgan Zabel led off the inning with a base hit and scored on Katy Edwards’ groundout. Abby Edwards walked and Rodosky reached on an error, bringing up Masching with two runners on. Both scored on Masching’s blooper down the right field line.
Meanwhile, Abby Edwards found a groove. After giving up the second-inning runs, Edwards did not allow a Heyworth batter to reach base until the seventh inning, setting down 14 batters before a double from Maggie Toepke snapped the string with one out in the seventh.
Edwards struck out Erica McMann for the second out, but the Hornets coaxed a walk and string together a double and two singles in making it a one-run game with the tying run on second base.
But Edwards fanned Morgan Spencer to end the game.
“She was hitting her spots really well,” Masching said of Edwards. “This ump was a little bit pickier with things, especially on the inside corner and outside low. She powered through it and got the job done.”
Edwards finished with five strikeouts and two walks while giving up seven hits. Slayback took the loss for Heyworth, allowing nine hits, two walks and striking out eight.
Masching had three hits, including a double, and drove in four runs for the Trojans (26-6). Morgan Zabel delivered two hits while Katy Edwards doubled and Abby Edwards, Rodosky and Kayla Kodat each singled.