Offense ignites after deadlocked third inning
by Kirk Whitaker
That was fast.
Eight pitches to be exact.
Lancers senior Katie Wildman struck out two and snagged a liner for the first three outs of the visitor’s half of the first—on her way to an eight strikeout performance—and at first look of the Maroon’s pitching, it looked as if ALAH would clobber Champaign Central.
“Katie pitched really well today,” Lancers head coach Matt Darling commented. “She got some more speed than she has recently and got them to swing. Our defense wasn’t what we wanted, but it worked out for us.”
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Sherelle Coller hit a single back up the middle, plating Wildman after Brooke Tabb scored when Wildman reached off error for the first two runs of the game.
Then Wildman got—well—wild.
In the second, Wildman opened the inning with a walk and hit batter—the walk scored via single with one out—and in the third, Wildman bookended a strikeout with two walks, which eventually scored, on top of a runner on base from catcher’s interference on Emily Harlin, which eventually scored.
The final two runs came home with two outs after a grounder came to Wildman who fell and threw to first from her seat, but the throw was low and poorly received, so everyone was safe. That tied the game at four, but luckily for the Lancers that was all the Maroons would get.
“Really the only problem we had was our defense,” Darling explained. “The play in the third was one of the few bad ones we had, but it also scored two of their runs. They scored off three walks, and that can be fixed.”
Luckily for the Lancers the bottom of the lineup came through the entire game.
In the home half of the second Briana Morgan ripped a ball between short and third and was batted around by a Mycaela Miller’s triple to the left field wall and was brought in by Tabb who grounded out to third for the final run of the frame.
In the home half of the fourth, Morgan doubled and Miller switched places with her, breaking the deadlock at four for her second RBI of the game.
The Morgan double was the spark for the final three runs of the day, and after Miller, Tabb singled. Wildman then singled to bring home Miller, and Coller brought Tabb home with a single of her own.
“This pitcher was Bri’s kind of pitcher,” Darling explained. “She hits better off the slower pitchers, and it was good to see her on base. The way Mycaela has hit lately, anytime anyone gets on, they have a legitimate chance to score but especially Bri because of her speed.”
On Wednesday the Lancers host Okaw Valley—who is undefeated in the conference—for their first conference matchup and on Wildman and Coller’s birthdays nonetheless.
“Hopefully, we can get some BP in tomorrow before we face McClain,” Darling said with a laugh. “In the past we have gotten hurt having to adjust from really slow to really fast on short notice, so it will be interesting to see how we adjust. One beneficial thing is they have faced her multiple times over the last couple of years.”
The Lancers close the busy week with a non-conference game against Stew-Stras Thursday and Cerro Gordo Friday, all in Arthur.