TOLONO — It was a high scoring game to say the least in the Eagles softball team’s 15-12 loss to the Tolono Unity Rockets last Monday.
Though it was one for the records for Madisyn Walton. Walton hit two grand slams for the Eagles, providing eight out of the team’s 12 runs.
Walton had no success in her first two at bats, striking out both times.
The third time, however, was quite different for Walton in the fifth inning. The Eagles were down 9-3, but got two singles and a walk to load the bases for Walton.
Before her third at bat, Walton talked with teammate Kirstin Sutherland.
“I remember I looked at her and was like, ‘I am going to hit this ball,’ and she said, ‘You are,’” Walton said. “I am not going to ground out. I was just being confident and going to go up there thinking I am going to hit a line drive.”
Walton ended up hitting the next pitch over the centerfield wall for a grand slam to make the score 9-7.
“Making that grand slam happen was a good feeling,” Walton said. I remember just like clapping my hands going around first and glad that I was able to help my team out. I was also thankful that my teammates did their job as well. They got on base to make that grand slam happen.”
The first hit and run for the Eagles came from the bat of Lexi Sherrick. Sherrick hit a home run in the first inning.
The Rockets scored six runs in the sixth inning to extend their lead to 15-7.
In the sixth inning, the Eagles went on another run. Walton found herself once again with the bases loaded after her team got a walk, a single and a runner reaching an in-field error. This time Walton was more confident in her at bat and in making contact, not necessarily hitting another grand slam.
“The coach called a timeout and told me, ‘All you need is a base hit,’” Walton said. “I knew he was right.”
Walton hits second grand slam in the sixth
Walton hit the ball again into center field for a second grand slam to cut the lead to four (15-11).
“I went up there and I hit the ball, and at first I didn’t even know it was out, so I got nervous,” Walton said. “I did not think that was going to happen.”
In that same inning, the Eagles loaded the bases again after a batter reached on an in-field error and two back-to-back singles while also accumulating one out from a ground out by Jerzie Grob. Kianna Berlatsky struck out to make it two outs. Jenna Sanford was the last chance for the Eagles.
“Jenna quickly fell behind with no balls and two strikes, but fouled off a couple of tough pitches,” RTHS coach Travis Flesner said. “She finally grounded out to the second baseman to end the game. We battled until the end and learned a lot in that game.”
Walton makes IHSA history
Walton joins the IHSA records for hitting two grand slams in a game.
“Two grand slams has only happened in IHSA about 10 times,” Flesner said. “It’s very rare for that to occur. The game against Unity was very wild as it had big swings in the score.”
Walton said despite the team losing close games, she thinks they have improved since the start of the season because players are giving their full effort.
“Knowing that we are still fighting and even though we are not having the games come out in our favor,” Walton said. “my teammates and I have been putting a lot of hard work in practice, which has been paying off. At the end it’s always us putting in our best effort.”
Contact Ben Theobald at email@example.com