PLAINFIELD — Not doing the "little things" cost the Ottawa Lady Pirates on Saturday morning.
The Plainfield North Tigers did them, and it paid dividends.
The Tigers executed a small ball game to defeat Ottawa 4-1 in a nonconference matchup.
"We didn't have the energy we needed to beat a team like Plainfield was really what it came down to," said coach Adam Lewis, whose Lady Pirates saw their eight-game winning streak snapped. "It's been a long week, a Saturday morning start, it was cold, just all of those things added up to how we looked, I think, at least the first few innings. I thought we played a little bit slow, just looked tight. The girls looked cold. I'm glad they still battled and fought it off and stayed in the game and played a little bit better the last couple innings than they did the first.
"But, obviously, Plainfield's one of the best teams in the state this year (the Tigers are ranked fourth in Class 4A, according to the Illinois Coaches Association), and they showed us why. They executed all the little things. ... We didn't do all the little things today."
Plainfield North (17-2) — which boasts five Division I recruits — tallied a run in each of the initial two innings. Lexie Siwek (3-for-3 at the plate), an Indiana State University signee, led off the bottom of the first with a soft liner down the left-field line for a hit. She proceeded to steal second base before being driven home by junior Northern Illinois University commit Samantha Mallinder, who doubled to the left-center field gap. In the second inning, Hailey Kuriger brought in a run following a bunt.
It scored twice more in the fourth, getting RBIs from Britney Knox (sacrifice bunt) and Siwek (single), to make it 4-0.
"We knew we had to get runners in scoring position with the pitcher that they had in the circle. I mean, she's probably one of the best pitchers we've faced all season," said Tigers coach Kelly Ash in reference to Sloan Gayan (6 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 5 K). He added that Ottawa's probably one of the best teams they've played. "So, you know, we just played a little bit of small ball and ran the bases well. That's how we went about our game today."
The Lady Pirates (14-2) finally broke through on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning to avoid the shutout against Plainfield North all-state pitcher Greta Thompson (7 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K), who's signed with University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and upped her record to 12-0. Jazzy Bowman drew a two-out walk for Ottawa and advanced to second on a passed ball. Gayan (2-for-3) then plated Bowman with a double sliced down the right-field line.
"We got runners on base, runners in scoring position. We just weren't able to get a key hit to score them," said Lewis of the Lady Pirates, who left seven on base and stranded a trio in scoring position.
Lewis hopes that his Lady Pirates learned one thing in particular.
"What I hope they took out of (this game) is how we need to execute defensively and offensively down the stretch," Lewis said. "The further we get in the postseason, the more small ball we're going to see, the more we'll need to small ball. And I hope they saw how we need to execute from an offensive standpoint, and then as well as what we need to do defensively to take it away."
Plainfield North 4, Ottawa 1
OTTAWA (1) — Nink 1b 3-0-0-0, Bowman cf 3-1-0-0, Gayan p 3-0-2-1, Harris 2b 2-0-0-0, Simpson c 2-0-0-0, C. Claus lf 3-0-0-0, A. Claus 3b 3-0-0-0, Turk rf 3-0-1-0, Guerrero ss 3-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-3-1.
PLAINFIELD NORTH (4) — Siwek 3b 3-1-3-1, Shaughnessy rf 3-0-0-0, Mallinder ss 3-0-1-1, Thompson p 3-0-2-0, Weck cr 0-0-0-0, Callow 1b 3-0-0-0, Piven lf 3-0-0-0, Dunbar c 2-0-1-0, Kennedy ph 0-0-0-0, Chan pr 0-1-0-0, Auriemma cr 0-1-0-0, Kuriger dp 3-1-2-1, Keay cf 0-0-0-0, Bri. Knox 2b 2-0-0-1. Totals 25-4-9-4.
Ottawa (14-2) 000 010 0 — 1 3 1
Plainfield N. (17-2) 110 200 x — 4 9 2
DPT — Ottawa 1, Plainfield North 0. LOB — Ottawa 7, Plainfield North 5. 2B — Gayan, Mallinder. SAC — Bri. Knox. HBP — Nink (by Thompson). SB — Gayan 2, Nink, Siwek, Auriemma. CS — Nink, Weck.
Ottawa ip r er h bb k
Gayan (L, 11-2) 6 4 4 9 1 5
Plainfield N. ip r er h bb k
Thompson (W, 12-0) 7 1 0 3 3 4