RANTOUL — The Rantoul Eagles softball team started off the first couple of innings strong, but couldn’t pull out the win at home against the U-High Pioneers Saturday.
The Eagles trailed 1-0 after the top of the first inning, but did respond in the bottom of the first inning after Jada Mosley hit a leadoff double and then stole third.Mosley would score after a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.
In the same inning, Bella Shields walked and was able score after the next batter, Jerzie Grob hit a line-drive double to give her team the lead, 2-1.
Lexi Sherrick was the starting pitcher for the Eagles and was supported by the defense behind her, especially in the second inning.
Rantoul’s catcher, Bella Shields, picked off U-High base runner Addie Steward trying to steal second. Shields would end up throwing out three runners on Saturday.
In the same inning U-High’s Dani Roberts tried to extend a double into a triple, but was thrown out at third after a relay throw from left fielder Jenna Sandord to Mosley and then to Grob, who tagged out Roberts.
The Eagles’ stellar defense continued in the third inning. The Pioneers had runners on first and second, but then Mosley made a double play after scooping up a ground ball, tagging out the runner at second and throwing to first.
“We made some strong defensive plays,” Rantoul head coach Travis Flesner said.
Unfortunately, that’s when the momentum began to change. In that same inning, Sherrick walked a batter, putting runners on first and second. The next batter, Emily O’Leary, hit an RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Then the next batter, Makaylea Sepich, hit an RBI single to give the Pioneers a 3-2 lead with runners on first and second
The Eagles’ bad luck continued in the third inning. After a wild pitch that advanced runners to second and third, the Pioneers got another single to score two more runs. The Pioneers went from being down one to being up three.
“We were up against a strong U-High Pioneers softball team,” Flesner said. “We made a few errors on some ground balls that led to a few unearned runs putting us behind from the third inning on.”
Pioneers pitcher Maddie Roop shut down the Eagles in the bottom of the third. Roop induced Sanford to fly out in her at bat. Sherrick then lined out, and Mosley grounded out.
Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the top of the sixth, Sepich hit a leadoff triple for the Pioneers and eventually scored after a sacrifice fly by Addie Steward to move the score to 6-2.
The Eagles did respond in the bottom of the sixth, and it came from their own pitcher, Sherrick. Sherrick hit her fourth home run of the season to make it 6-3.
The Pioneers would score two runs in the top of the seventh for an 8-3 lead.
The Eagles were down to their last inning.
Jen Kuhn came as the relief pitcher for the Pioneers.
Madisyn Walton hit a single to put a runner on first for the Eagles. The next batter for the Eagles, Madison Palmer, struck out swinging. The next batter, Mosley, also struck out. With two outs, the last hope for the Eagles was Sherrick. Sherrick ended the game grounding out.
Next up for the Eagles will be a home game against the Olympia Spartans on Thursday. First pitch will be at 4:30 p.m.
Contact Ben Theobald at email@example.com