Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Metamora Softball prevails over Limestone

Madi Vancil was the Player of the Game from Tuesday's win over Limestone in Bartonville. The ICC-bound senior had three hits and a RBI in the 5-4 Metamora win. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Bartonville, Ill. - Keep your eyes on the ball for this one. Okay, maybe shut your eyes every so often. With the windy conditions at Endsley Sports Complex in Bartonville on Tuesday afternoon, it made for the 'dust bowl-type' conditions that you'll see from time to time at either a baseball or softball game. This conference game pitted the Limestone Rockets (12-10) (7-4) against the Metamora Redbirds (10-15) (5-6).

The Redbirds didn't waste any time getting the offense going. Just two batters into the game, sophomore Becca Johnson hit a single. After a Sidney Litviak groundout, that set up Madi Vancil, who would get the Redbirds on the board with an RBI single.

Johnson was right where she needed to be in the circle. Sure, the strikeout numbers weren't where they had been in games past (12 strikeouts 2 of last 3 outings), but that didn't matter. Johnson would have the Rockets struggling to plate any runs in the early-going.

A scoreless second inning for both sides followed. Metamora was able to plate two runs in the third, after Gillian Guerrero reached on an error by Limestone first baseman Holly Shempf. That put the Redbirds up 3-0 against a team that prior to Tuesday's contest, was second in the Mid-Illini Conference standings. However, 3-0 was the lead Metamora had back at Hits for the Cure, a 3-0 lead that turned into a 7-3 loss. Thus, you can never take anything for granted.

Limestone cracked into the run column with an RBI single from Shempf in the bottom of the 4th, making it a 3-1 game. The run-scoring was something that some pitchers may struggle with after doing so well to start, but not Becca Johnson.

13th-year head coach Deric Linder said that Johnson is very "level-headed" in the circle, adding that "that's what I love about her". Senior catcher Madi Vancil said that she would tell Johnson in the circle to "keep the energy up".

Sidney Litviak hit the game's first home run to put Metamora up 4-1 in the fifth. Johnson was able to rebound with a 4-batter inning in the next half.

The Redbirds would go 1-2-3 in their half of the sixth, and the Rockets took advantage. Three straight hits, a double by Kelsey Hobson, an RBI single from Holly Shempf, and a single from Hailey West, would end the day for Becca Johnson, who would get a no decision, going 5 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, and 1 strikeout. Johnson would eventually rebound at the plate in the seventh.

After the 2-run inning for Limestone, Metamora would go 1-2-3 in the next half inning, leaving the door open for the Rockets in a 4-3 game after the sixth inning. Johnson had other ideas. With having exited the game in the circle behind her, she would launch a solo home run that wound up being the difference.

In the bottom of the seventh, Limestone would tack on one more run, but that wasn't enough. Shempf would line out to first, and Anna Barrow stepped right on the bag to complete the double play, as the runner was just far enough off of the bag. The Redbirds would knock off the second-place Rockets, 5-4.

After the game, Coach Linder said that his squad "came in with confidence and a mission". That "confidence" and "mission" needed to prove the naysayers wrong, as the Redbirds were given the 8th seed in their sub-sectional.

The Redbirds have just two home games remaining, those being this Thursday against Dunlap, a 4:30 pm first pitch, and next Thursday, May 17th, hosting East Peoria at 7:00 pm for Senior Night.

Redbird Statistics:

Next Redbirds Softball Game:
Thursday, May 10th - 4:30 pm
vs. Dunlap Eagles

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