STREATOR — There was a play the Streator Lady Bulldogs defense wasn't able to make in the top of the seventh inning and a play the Reed-Custer Lady Comets did make in the bottom half.
And that made all the difference.
A dropped two-out flyball in the visitors' seventh allowed Reed-Custer its only run against Streator starting pitcher Ellie Magana, and a sharp groundball double play in the home half of that last inning defused the Lady Bulldogs' last-gasp rally as the Lady Comets edged SHS 1-0 here Tuesday to complete an Interstate Eight Conference sweep.
While the outfield error dealt Magana — who pitched masterfully to the tune of four hits, one walk and zero earned runs allowed with one strikeout over seven complete innings — the hard-luck loss, the 6U-4 double play with two on and nobody out all but sealed the complete-game shutout for Magana's counterpart, winning pitcher Antoinette Hill (7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K).
After Hill's one-out double in the top of the seventh and the dropped fly which allowed courtesy runner Alexa Cieslac to touch home and break the scoreless tie, the Lady Bulldogs (5-12 overall, 3-6 in the I-8) started brewing something of their own in the bottom half. Grace Schmitz lined a leadoff single into center, and Aubrey Durdan followed with a groundball past the drawn-in-expecting-a-bunt third baseman to put runners at first and second with nobody away.
Alivia Adkins stepped in and tagged a hard-hit groundball right to Lady Comets shortstop Kelsi Dillon, who tagged pinch runner Tessa McClellan and flipped to second for the deflating twin killing. Hill then induced another grounder for the third out and the Reed-Custer (10-3, 6-2) victory.
"Streator had their opportunity in the bottom of the seventh," said R-C coach Ramsey Harkness, "and fortunately we held our composure. There were a few times earlier in the season where we didn't, so I think learning our lessons from the past and sticking with the gameplan, we ended up with that nice double play.
"That really saved the game right there. (Adkins) hit the ball hard, but fortunately it was right at us. Three inches one way or the other, it's a tie ballgame."
Magana and Hill not only starred in the circle but also at the plate, each managing half of her team's four hits against the other. Streator defensive standouts included Adkins at second, Maddie Barichello behind the plate and Magana with a self-defense snaring of a line drive to start a double play in the fourth.
"Ellie did a fantastic job. I couldn't have asked for anything more," Lady Bulldogs coach Dawn Williams said of the right-handed sophomore. "She was working with her changeup, a dropball, and I think I heard (assistant coach Ray) Yanek say she was working with a screwball. I thought her pitching was fantastic today.
"It's frustrating, because I think our batters looked at some good pitches going by, and that put us in a tough position where we had to swing at some pitches that weren't necessarily strikes, but we had to protect the plate. Some of the girls made contact, but we did not string hits together.
"We have a lot of talented young ladies. We're just waiting to jell, to make everything work together. Sooner or later, everything will come together ... preferably sooner."
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Reed-Custer 1, Streator 0
REED-CUSTER (1) — Faletti 2b 3-0-0-0, Dillon ss 3-0-1-0, Mazon 3b 3-0-0-0, Mack rf 3-0-1-0, Colclasure c 3-0-0-0, Hill p 2-0-2-0, Hamilton cf 2-0-0-0, Kmetz 1b 3-0-0-0, Wolf lf 3-0-0-0, Cieslac cr 0-1-0-0. Totals 25-1-4-0.
STREATOR (0) — Magana p 3-0-2-0, Yanek 3b 3-0-0-0, Cole ss 2-0-0-0, Barichello c 3-0-0-0, Schmitz 1b 3-0-1-0, Durdan cf 3-0-1-0, Adkins 2b 3-0-0-0, Grace dp 3-0-0-0, Gubbels lf 2-0-0-0, Davis rf 0-0-0-0, McClellan pr 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-0-4-0.
R-C (10-3, 6-2) 000 000 1 — 1 4 1
Streator (5-12, 3-6) 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
GIDP - Adkins. LOB - R-C 5; Streator 5. 2B - Hill. SAC - Hamilton. SB - Magana.
Reed-Custer ip r er h bb k
Hill (W, 10-3) 7 0 0 4 1 7
Magana (L, 2-5) 7 1 0 4 1 1