RANTOUL — The Rantoul Eagles (7-6) softball team had no way to answer to the Olympia Spartans on Thursday. The Eagles were held scoreless at home by the Spartans 9-0.
In the first inning, Alexis Finchum hit an RBI single and was batted in by Kate Finchum who doubled. The Spartans (13-3) had a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
In the second inning, the Spartans loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk. Chloe Scroggins hit a ground ball up the middle that scored two runs. Two more runs would score after Sydnee Usherwood hit a double into right field. The second inning was a deadly one for the Eagles.
“We came out pretty flat,” Rantoul head coach Travis Flesner said. “We gave up two in the first and then they scored six in the second. We were down 8-0 right away against a good hitting team.”
The last run for the Spartans came in the fifth inning. Scroggins hit a homered to right field
The Eagles were in an offensive slump for game, producing only three hits. Jada Mosley doubled and Madison McGinn and Bella Shields each singled for RTHS’ only hits.
Kaelyn Leverson pitched all seven innings for the Spartans. She struck out 12 of the 27 batters she faced.
“I don’t think anyone has ever won a game scoring no runs,” Flesner said. “We have to do a better job being selective on hitting strikes and not taking strike three. We have to put the ball in play when we have runners on base and just be more aggressive.”
For the Eagles, pitching duty started with Lexi Sherrick. Sherrick pitched for the first two innings. She got four strikeouts, two walks and allowed a total of eight runs, four of them being earned. McGinn would replace Sherrick in the third inning, pitching for the remainder of the game. McGinn allowed only one run and struck out two.
“McGinn throws at a different speed than Lexi,” Flesner said. “Our defense played a lot better and were rejuvenated when she came in since we only gave up one more run for the rest of the game. There was a positive there.”
Flesner said that even though after the first two innings his team trailed 8-0, he still thought were in the game and could come back.
“We can put up 8 runs in a game,” Flesner said. “We had the second through the seventh innings left. It wasn’t out of the question completely.”
The main hurdle for the Eagles was Leverson. Leverson gave the Eagles offense fits.
“When we got shutdown in the second through the fourth the wind kind of went out of our sails,” Flesner said. “At that point, we were just trying to hang on and get some positives out of it.”
Flesner said that if there was a silver lining from Thursday’s game, it would be that the Eagles played all seven innings.
“If there is anything to take from that game, it is that we didn’t just completely fold,” Flesner said. “We did not get beat by the 10 run rule. We kind of held our heads up and finished the game.”
The Eagles lost its first conference game on April 8 against St. Joseph. The final score was 9-2 in favor of St. Joseph. The team has a conference record of 1-2.
The next game for the Eagles will be at Mahomet-Seymour. The game will be today with the first pitch scheduled at 5 p.m.
Contact Ben Theobald at firstname.lastname@example.org