By Tom Schultz For the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — PORT BYRON, Ill. — The Fulton Steamers and Riverdale Rams matched ace for ace in the first game of the regional softball playoffs Monday, and the Steamers came out on top 3-2.
It was also a record-breaking night for Riverdale Rams senior Sadie Mosher, who set the record for career strikeouts with 191 and broke the record for single-season doubles with her 12th in 2013. It also contributed to her record-shattering 36 career doubles.
While Mosher was happy about the school records, they were overshadowed by the team’s loss to the Steamers (7-11) on a less-than-stellar night in the field.
“I was pretty strong at first, but in the middle it got a little shaky. The defense made some errors and they were getting down on themselves,” Mosher said.
On the other side of the diamond, the Steamers’ defense kept them in the game, allowing their offense time to catch up. The team was grounded in making the routine plays, a confidence boost for pitcher Kat Wayne.
“I had tight D (defense) behind me, which helped us win,” Wayne said. “Having the lead made me calm down more, and I knew the D was behind me.”
That confidence showed in Wayne and the Steamers on defense following a 1-2-3 inning at the hands of Mosher in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half, with the score tied 1-1, the Rams loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. A base-running blunder for the second out put pressure on both sides to execute. Wayne and the Steamers prevailed as she and her batterymate, Maddie Andresen, set up and knocked down the last Ram of the inning on a fastball down the middle for a strikeout.
Riding the momentum, the Steamers offense woke up in the top of the fifth beginning with a single by Ann Renkes. The Rams defense booted the next ball, followed by a single from Andresen to load the bases. Senior Emma Wiemken came to the plate looking to put the Steamers in the lead, and Mosher attacked her with a quick strike.
“After the first strike, I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to stay focused,’ “ Wiemken said. “I fouled one off and knew I was going to hit the ball.”
Wiemken came through for the Steamers, lashing a single to the outfield, driving in two runs and putting the Steamers up 3-1.
“Emma (Wiemken) came through with the bases-loaded single that scored two, got us a big lead,” Wayne said. “It got our team ahead and gave them confidence to keep the lead. It was a big confidence boost.”
Riverdale threatened again in the fifth, scratching off another run on an RBI single from Mosher. The hit cut Fulton’s lead to 3-2.
“I definitely felt on today,” Mosher said, “but we were scattering hits, which don’t drive in runs. It takes a rally to score runs, and we left quite a few runners on base.”
Unfortunately for Riverdale, the team was unable to string together any more hits to put them over the top. Another double from Mosher, adding to her record, with two outs in the seventh put the tying run in scoring position, but again the Rams came up short. The Steamers executed on defense for the final out of the night, getting the win.
Now the Steamers turn their focus to Wednesday’s regional semifinal matchup against the Morrison Fillies at 4:30 p.m. in Manlius, Ill.
FULTON 3, RIVERDALE 2
Fulton 100 020 0 — 3 7 2
Riverdale 001 010 0 — 2 8 2
Katherine Wayne (7 ip, 8 h, 2 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 5 so) and Maddy Andresen; Sadie Mosher (7 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 10 so) and Chloe Sullivan. Multiple hits — Fulton (Andresen 2, Emma Wiemken 2); Riverdale (Mosher 2). 2B — Riverdale (Mosher). RBIs — Fulton (Wiemken 2, Wayne); Riverdale (Mosher).