There was a noticeable buzz in the air Friday night…rippling through the large crowd, onto the field, flowing back and forth between the players and the coaches and the fans. It was a big night.
Maybe because a strong Georgetown Eagles team was in town for the start of Elgin’s (10-7) district play. Maybe because before the game, past, present and future Lady Cats lined up on the first base line to celebrate the pride and tradition of playing for Elgin Varsity Softball. Maybe everyone knew we were in store for a great game.
Starting Elgin pitcher Gracy Crafts, #19, and Eagles pitcher H. Blincoe let it be known from the very start that they weren’t messing around. Batter after batter fell to the pitchers’ various arrays of pitches. High and tight. Low and away. Straight heat down the middle. Hitters on both teams quickly realized they would have to really be on focus to be successful against the opposing hurler. The first four innings came and went scoreless with Crafts and the Eagle’s hurler both striking out seven while scattering a couple of hits.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, left-fielder Kelsea Calhoun, #5, had solid contact on a pitch and drove it into right field for a single, advancing to second base on a throwing error. After a fly out, infielder Alexis Cathey came through in the clutch and stroked a single, which scored Calhoun from second base for the game’s first run.
Crafts struck out two more Eagles hitters in the top of the sixth. The bottom half of the inning saw the Lady Cats add an insurance run. Infielder Kiana Gibson was hit by a pitch, followed by designated hitter Bella Ramirez reaching first base on a fielder’s choice but Gibson being tagged out at second. Hailey Girod came on to run for Ramirez at first base. Girod reached second on a sacrifice by Morgan Heine. This set up Gracie Pena to drive in the Elgin runner from second base with a nice hit into the outfield for Elgin’s second run. The top of the seventh saw third-baseman Cathey throw out a hitter for the first out, catch a fly ball ball for the second out and as it should be, Crafts struck out the last Georgetown hitter for the win.
Crafts was the winning pitcher with 13 strikeouts and scattering four hits, while the Eagles pitcher had eight strikeouts. Head Coach Amanda Wolf-Schramm added that the Georgetown pitcher did a good job against the Elgin hitters and said how proud she was of her team for taking it one play, and one pitch, at a time until they broke through for the win.
The Lady Cats play at Manor on Tuesday March 12 and are back at home Friday night March 15 at 7 p.m. to challenge Cedar Creek.