Class 3A regional softball

Before the game, there seemed to be a bit awe permeating the Metamora dugout. There was talk about that Pontiac pitcher going to Illinois, and other stuff. It appeared that maybe the Indians already had an edge before the first pitch was thrown in the Class 3A Pontiac Regional softball Wednesday at Williamson Field.
    The pitcher was Regan Krause, only a sophomore but who has verbally committed to Illinois already because of rule changes set to take place June 1. Krause struck out the first two batters she faced looking. The Tribe then scored a run in the bottom of the opening frame and led the rest of the way to what became a 5-0 victory over the Redbirds.
    The win sends the Indians into the championship game Saturday against the winner of today’s Geneseo-IVC contest.
    The seeds for a storm were planted before the game because of the talk of what Metamora was facing. The first bolt of lighting came from Krause with the two punch outs.
    The next bolt came from Madisyn Webster in the bottom of the frame. The speedy senior bunted for a single to lead off of the inning. The throw was off the mark and Webster ended up on second.
    “Madisyn is a senior and it shows in that No. 1 spot, she doesn’t have to be told to bunt,” PTHS head coach Nicole Hayner said. “She did that on her own.”
    A sacrifice bunt from Amanda Fox and a sacrifice fly from Addison Masching brought Webster home with the first run of the game, and just like that, the Indians led 1-0.
    “It really set the tone for the whole game,” Krause said of her team getting that first-inning run. “It’s hard as a pitcher to play a zero-zero game, so it gave us a little room to breath.”
    Krause got a ground out to open the second inning and then Maddie benson singled up the middle. There went the no-hitter, but that was all the Redbirds were going to get on this day.
    Krause got the next two batters and proceeded to retire the next 12 for 14 in a row.
    “I definitely didn’t have my best stuff today, I was working on hitting spots and letting my defense play behind me,” Krause said. “I settled in, I was a little nervous at first.”
    She really settled in after helping herself in the bottom of the second inning with a little thunder. Krause belted a towering home run with one out to make it 2-0.
    “I haven’t really hit that well all season, so it was a good coming-out-of-a-slump hit,” Krause said. “It definitely helped.”
    As for being relaxed after the home run, Hayner had her theory.
    “I think more of the relaxation comes from us being ahead, but she had a big part in that,” Hayner said. “When we’re ahead, she pitches well and she knows she has the defense behind her.”
    Setting down 14 in a row is proof that Krause was working her magic against the Redbirds. She finished with six strikeouts and gave up no walks and just the one hit.
    Fox came on in the sixth inning, as has been the modus operandi of Pontiac pitching. Fox fanned one and did not yield a hit or a walk in closing out the victory.
    Something the Krause-Fox did not do was allow a putout in the outfield. The three fly outs were on the infield as shortstop Masching made two catches and third sacker Emma Jacobs grabbed one.
    Pontiac padded its lead in the fourth inning thanks to another ball that was thunder struck. Maddi Stark led off with a walk and, two outs later, Fox drew a free pass to bring up Masching.
    Like Krause in the second inning, Masching turned on one and drove the ball over the fence. The three-run shot to right-center made it 5-0.
    Krause had two hits including her homer, and one run batted in, while Jacobs and Alyssa Fox each had two hits for the Indians (23-7). Masching homered and drove in four runs and Madison Weber and Webster each singled.
    The regional championship game is Saturday at 11 a.m. with winner advancing to the Washington Sectional to take on the winner of the Canton Regional.