Tuesday, March 26, 2019

5-run 4th dooms Metamora in loss to Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln

5-run 4th dooms Metamora in loss to Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, Metamora Herald
Metamora's Alex Bishop delivers during Tuesday morning's game against Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (WI) in Metamora.
Metamora, Ill. - It's only Tuesday, but the Red Raiders from Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln (1-0) are already getting used to the area.

Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin is about a four and a half hour drive to Metamora High School, but the Red Raiders made the trip to Canton initially. According to fifth-year head coach Isaac Holberg, his team was scheduled to play the Little Giants on Monday, but rain forced that to be postponed. So, on Tuesday, they'd play the Metamora Redbirds at 11:00 am, then the Canton Little Giants at 3:00 pm. On top of that, they'd been staying in Canton for a few days, so it's not as if they came straight from Wisconsin Rapids for this. 

Yet those Red Raiders hardly waited at all to make some noise in this one. Just two batters into the game, freshman shortstop Megan Clary launched a home run to take the early 1-0 lead, but Kaylee Hieronymus rebounded in the circle with a pair of strikeouts to end the frame. 

Fans may be surprised to know of Clary's youth, especially those that were at the game, but their coach, Isaac Holberg, was quite pleased with her efforts.

"This was her first varsity game. She's a freshman for us. So for her to start her high school career off, first pitch, first home run, first swing, she's a special ball player. I think she showed that today."

It seemed as if the Redbirds would be able to answer, when Gillian Guerrero got a single through. Yet Metamora would go cold at the plate thereafter, with nobody reaching base until a single from Liz Ufheil in the bottom of the 3rd. At that point, WRL held a 2-0 lead. So, best case scenario for the Redbirds, it was still a manageable deficit. 

Metamora did the best they could in the bottom half of the third, getting back-to-back RBIs off the bats of Hieronymus and Becca Johnson, plus another run to go with, allowing the Redbirds to at least temporarily negate the two-run lead.

That was, until the fourth inning came. A combination of RBIs and errors began to add up, as the 7, 8, and 9 hitters were responsible for four out of the five runs that would eventually cross the plate for the Red Raiders. It was in the middle of all of this that Redbird head coach Deric Linder would go to Alex Bishop in the circle to replace Hieronymus. 

The move appeared to at least soften the bleeding, but the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln bats were just too hot. After the onslaught, the Redbirds saw 5 runs, 4 hits, and 2 errors, on top of WRL having batted around in the inning. That all equates out to a 7-3 lead after 4 innings. 

A run-scoring streak would continue, as the Red Raiders were able to load the bases in the fifth on all of two hits. A walk drawn by the leadoff hitter Alyssa Banta scored a run to make it 8-3. 

One would be hopeful the Redbirds could at least dig away at the growing Red Raider lead, but that didn't happen. A Guerrero double was all Metamora could muster in the fifth. 

It was already a solid game for the Red Raiders at the plate, but Hailey Wilhorn, their pitcher, helped herself out, leading off the sixth with her team's second home run of the game to make it 9-3. Coach Holberg liked how she balanced her performance in the circle and capped it off well at the plate.

"Hailey's been a four-year starter for us. She's our only senior. She's hitting her spots, and they were just getting seeing-eye singles, and you're going to have that." 

With the chances of Metamora getting the W dwindling, they went scoreless in the sixth inning, three up, three down. 

The Red Raiders would get one last chance at icing this one, and they capitalized, getting an insurance run in the top of the 7th inning when Haley Wagner crossed home plate for their 10th run of the game. 

It would take a big seven-run push in the last half inning. Metamora did the best they could, getting two to score, including an RBI double for Maddi Benson to set Tuesday's final score of 10-5, favoring the visitors from Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln. 

It was quite evident that the errors were a large blemish on the box score for Metamora, and Coach Linder agrees.

"Gotta make some plays in the outfield. Can't have the errors to start off, putting the leadoff hitter on. Just gotta take care of those and get those outs."

Coach Holberg is happy to have this experience for the program, the first of its kind for Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.

"This is a great experience for us. Our program has never been out of state before. For us to be able to come down here and get two games in against quality opponents like Metamora and Canton, this is huge for us."

Coach Linder also said that he was ready for a good team, and that's what they got.

"Well, they're good. That's why they came down here. That's why we played them. We want to see the best."

Metamora will travel to East Peoria (Eastside Centre) on Tuesday, April 2nd, at 4:30 pm. 

Metamora Batting:
#14, Gillian Guerrero | single, F8, double, G1 (2-4)
#21, Maddi Benson | G1, walk, G6, RBI double (1-3)
#17, Kaylee Hieronymus | strikeout swinging, RBI double, G6, F7 (1-4)
#20, Becca Johnson | strikeout swinging, RBI double, strikeout swinging (1-3)
#4, Hannah Tellor | G1, strikeout swinging, G4 (0-3)
#8, Belle Revallo | G6, G5 (0-2)
#6, Emma Webster | G4, G1, double (1-3)
#3, Kassidy Hieronymus | G3, G1 (0-2)
#16, Liz Ufheil | single, G3 (0-2)
#9, Alex Bishop | G4 (0-1)
#13, Kayla Pacha | single (1-1)
#15, Olivia Beltramea | strikeout swinging (0-1)
Team Stats: 5 runs, 8 hits, 6 errors, 1 single, 5 doubles, 3 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

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