Eagles come up short in 2-1 loss against conference foe Illinois Valley Central Grey Ghosts

Rhyane Bushman slides into home to tie the game 1-1 after a wild pitch got by the Illinois Valley Central catcher. The Eagles lost 2-1. 

RANTOUL — The Eagles softball team had no answeragainst the pitching of the Illinois Valley Central’s Grey Ghosts at during their Saturday conference game against Illinois Valley Central’s Grey Ghosts.

Grey Ghosts pitcher Hannah Evans limited the Eagles to four hits and only one run. The Eagles lost to the Grey Ghosts 2-1. 

“Their pitcher kept us off balance, and we struggled to put the ball in play early,” coach Travis Flesner said. “She could go up in the zone and had a pretty solid changeup. She had good velocity and could also work the corners.”

The Grey Ghosts scored the first run in the top of the third inning. 

Evans leadoff with a single. Two batters later, Shylar Boze doubled to score Evans, giving the Ghosts a 1-0 lead.

 Eagles respond in the bottom of 1st

The Eagles responded in that same inning. Rhyane Bushman lead off for the Eagles with a walk. Bushman stole second base and advanced to third after a sac bunt by Jada Mosley, who beat the throw at first. 

Bushman scored after a wild pitch, sliding in at home to beat the tag to tie the game 1-1.

“We were able to put some base runners on to put a little pressure on,” Flesner said. “We just didn’t push any more than that one run across in that third inning.”

The Eagles were led on the mound by Lexi Sherrick. Sherrick pitched a complete game, giving up two earned runs, eight hits and struck out five.

“Lexi moved the ball extremely well,” Flesner said. “She got them to hit the ball to where our defense was. We played pretty solid behind her. Unfortunately, they just had two runs to our one.” 

The Grey Ghosts scored their second run in the fourth.

Kayla Wolf was thrown out at second after trying to extend a single into a double. Elizabeth Gelling doubled to get in scoring position. Sherrick struck out the next batter, Mackinley Church. Boze then doubled to score Gelling to give the Ghosts a 2-1 lead.

In that same inning, the Eagles tried to respond as they did in the third. Bella Shields and Jerzie Grob hit back-to-back singles. Kristen Frauser walked, loading the bases with two outs. But Bushman struck out to end the inning.

The Eagles got one runner on base in the fifth inning becuase a batter was hit by a pitch and one runner on in the sixth with a single. 

Bella Shields went 2 for 3 for the Eagles, with singles in the fourth and sixth innings.

In the seventh inning, the Eagles were down to their last at bats. Bushman reached first base on a bunt, but that was the only baserunner for the Eagles in the inning. Evans would strike out the next three Eagle batters to end the game.

“Evans could go up in the zone and had a pretty solid changeup,  and she could also work the corners as well. We made some adjustments; we just weren’t able to push enough runs across there. We played well defensively though to hold them to two runs because they are a good hitting team.

Flesner said his team needs to continue to work on getting better in practice as the season gets closer to regionals. 

“We have made some improvements in the last couple of weeks, and we are playing a lot better than we were two weeks ago,” Flesner said. “It’s just a matter of getting over that hump and getting a win. They are playing just as hard as we did when we started the season. Everybody knows what they need to work on.”

Next game for the Eagles

The Eagles play at Pontiac at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Contact Ben Theobald at btheobald@rantoulpress.com