By Jerry Ramig
Herald Sports Writer
FULTON , Ill. — The West Carroll Thunder softball team closed the regular part of its season with a 4-0 non-conference win over the Fulton Steamers on Thursday night and improved its record to 26-8.
Jordan Kasbohm was the winning pitcher as she allowed the Steamers no runs on only three hits, struck out 10 batters and walked two during seven innings.
“Jordan pitched a real solid game, and our defense did its job, as well,” West Carroll coach Don Mathey said. “We did a good job, finally manufacturing a couple of runs in the seventh for insurance.”
The win was the final tuneup for the Thunder, who begin Class 2A postseason play against Morrison at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the loaded Morrison Regional. The Thunder are the third seed in the regional behind Morrison (18-9) — which has won seven consecutive regional titles and has placed third and fourth at the state the past two years — and top seed Milledgeville (24-2).
“Overall, the team hitting will need to be much better to beat Morrison in the first round regional game next week,” Mathey said.
Both teams came out strong in the first four innings with each team getting only three hits and no runs scored.
But it was a different story for the Thunder in the top of the fifth. They picked up a couple of runs to take the lead. With one out, Kelsey Bull received a walk, was sacrificed to second base and then scored on a double to center by Kaiti Mathey. She later scored the second run of the inning on a single by Katie Wiersema.
The Steamers (6-13) had a chance in the sixth inning when Lydia Schaver and Jacquie VanZuiden got on base with a pair of errors, but the Thunder got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout.
The Thunder scored two more insurance runs in the seventh when Haley Johnson led off with a walk and then scored on a single by Mathey. She later scored her second run of the game to make it 4-0.
“We have been struggling a bit, kind of getting in a little slump, but our girls talked things over last night and came out, stuck together and swung the bats much better tonight along with solid defense and played a much closer game,” Fulton coach Jen Pepper, whose team wraps up Three Rivers Conference play at 4:30 p.m. today against Amboy and then has its regional opener against Galva at home at 4:30 p.m. Monday. “Overall I feel the team has improved during the season, and I think we are ready for tournament action.”
Score by Innings
West Carroll 000 200 2 — 4 8 2
Fulton 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Jordan Kasbohm and Katie Wiersema. Liz Carbaugh and Lydia Schaver. Two or more hits—WC (Chelsey Sipe 2, Katie Mathey 2, Wiersema 2). 2B—WC (Wiersema, J. Kasbohm). RBIs—WC (Mathey 2, Wiersema).
By Jerry Ramig