Prairie Central Regional final in softball, plus regional finals at Bloomington and Herscher
Prairie Central entered Saturday morning’s regional championship against Kankakee Bishop McNamara with the idea of pulling an upset on its mind. Despite jumping out to an early lead, the upset bid by the Hawks came up short as the Irish were able to walk off with a 3-2 victory and the championship.
“I don’t know many times that I have been prouder of a group of players,” Prairie Central head coach Tim McGuire said. “We had a scouting report, we had a goal about how we were going to play this game, and honestly they were superb.”
The game-deciding run for Bishop Mac came off of a wild play in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Gillian McDermott led off the inning with a double, a misplay at second base proved costly as McDermott was able to come around and score.
The Hawks were able to get things going early on, as they tagged McNamara starter Mo Holohan for two runs in the opening frame, all with two outs.
Amber Graf started the two-out rally with a double. She scored the following play on an RBI single by Addison Casner to give PC a 1-0 lead.
After Casner advanced to third base on a single by Lindsey Hari, she was able to score on a passed ball, making it 2-0 in favor of the Hawks.
From there the Hawks were unable to get much of anything else going against Holohan and the Irish defense. They allowed just three more baserunners (two singles, one walk) the remainder of the game, as Holohan finished with a line of two runs on five hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
“They started pitching us outside and we didn’t adjust,” McGuire said. “They also made every play. They are a solid team.”
The top-seeded Irish scored their other runs early on in the contest, as well, off of PC started Faith Bachtold. The first run they put on the board came in the first inning, as Leigha Campe led things off with a double. This was followed by a Tonya Faulkner walk.
Faulkner eventually came around to score on an error by PC to make it 2-1.
Another miscue proved costly for the Hawks in the third inning. Campe scored on another error after singling to lead off the inning to tie the game at two.
Bachtold finished the game yielding three runs on five hits. She walked one and struck out two.
“Faith threw a phenomenal game,” McGuire said of his senior left-hander. “Her changeup was spotted, she was throwing her up ball when we needed her to, and we made plays.”
The third-seeded Hawks received one hit apiece from Graf, Casner, Hari, Bachtold, and Heidi Meister.
Bishop McNamara will advance to the Beecher sectional, where they will take on Seneca.
BLOOMINGTON — Izzy Vetter was dominant as she pitched Central Catholic to a 3-0 win over Lexington in the championship game of the Class 2A BCC Regional Saturday.
Vetter struck out 11 Minutemen, walked two allowed just one base hit. Her performance overshadowed a strong effort from Maddie Underhill for Lexington (7-11).
Underhill only struck out one and did allow six hits and three walks. But she was able to keep her team close to the top-seeded Saints.
Central Catholic scored a run in the second inning and added single tallies in the fifth and sixth frames.
Dani Palmer had the lone Lexington base hit, a single in the with one out in the fifth inning.
HERSCHER — Woodland-Flanagan-Cornell scored first but host Herscher scored more often in posting a 12-2 regional championship win on the Tigers’ home field.
Kylie Kindermann doubled with two one and two outs in the top of the first inning to give the Warriors the early lead. Elise Kane and Emily Friese each reached on errors and scored on the base hit.
Kaitlyn Walter doubled later in the game for WFC’s only other base hit.
Herscher belted three home runs. The last one ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Shea Moritz took the loss in the circle for WFC (14-11). She struck out one in two innings. August Gillman threw one inning and Friese tossed one inning, striking out two.
(Erich Murphy contributed to this story)