By Jerry Ramig
Herald Sports Writer
MORRISON, Ill. — The West Carroll Thunder softball team doesn’t mind playing extra-inning games as long as they keep on winning. They are the Class 2A regional champions as they had to play 12 innings before posting a 2-0 decision against top-seeded Milledgeville/Polo on Saturday.
On Wednesday, they had to go eight innings in a semifinal game before taking a 6-4 decision from the Morrison Fillies. Both games were pitchers duels.
“It was a heck of a game, and it’s a shame that one of us is done,” West Carroll coach Don Mathey said. “No doubt about it, this was an incredible game. I feel this was a real tough regional, and I am really proud of our girls.”
West Carroll advanced to the Byron Sectional, where it will play Harvard at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a semifinal.
The Thunder managed to get only five runners on base through the first 11 innings and only once during that time had a runner reach third base. That was in the 10th when winning pitcher Jordan Kasbohm led off with a single to center and was left stranded on third.
But in the top of the 12th it was a different story. Katie Wiersema led off with her second hit of the game, an infield single, and then scored the first run on a hit by Jennesa Miller, who later scored the second run on a throwing error.
It was almost the same story for the Missiles in the 10th inning as Brianna Herin reached on an error and went to third on an infield hit by Keali Engelkens, putting runners on second and third with no outs. The Thunder defense came up strong with a popup to the catcher and two groundouts to get out of the inning. In the next two innings, the Thunder shut the Missiles down with six straight outs to hold on for the win.
The Missiles had a good chance in the first inning as the Thunder had a couple of errors, allowing runners to get to second and third. But the defense and good pitching got them out of the inning.
The pitching performance was great by both pitchers during the entire game.
Kasbohm allowed just four hits, struck out 10 batters and issued no walks. The Missiles left eight runners on base.
Milledgeville/Polo’s Engelkens allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out 12 batters and gave up no walks. The Thunder left six runners on base.
Milledgeville/Polo closed its season with a 26-3 record.
“West Carroll has a good team, and we played them twice during the season and won them both,” Milledgeville/Polo coach Rick Lincoln said. “Jordan Kasbohm is a great pitcher. We had scoring opportunities but just didn’t come up with that big hit when we needed it early in the game, but that’s the way this game goes. Today we came up on the short end, and sometimes it’s hard to beat a team for a third time, but I’m not using that as an excuse. I told the girls I was real proud of them and overall enjoyed the fact that we had a good season.’’
Score by Innings
W. Carroll 000 000 000 002 — 2 7 3
M/Polo 000 000 000 000 — 0 4 1
Jordan Kasbohm and Kate Wiersema; Keali Engelkens and Katelyn Grobe. Two or more hits — West Carroll (Jennesa Miller 2, Wiersema 2). RBIs — West Carroll (Miller, Kasbohm). Records — West Carroll 27-8, Milledgeville/Polo 26-3.
By Jerry Ramig