STREATOR — It was just one of those days on the softball diamond that the Streator Lady Bulldogs had to tip their collective visors to the opposing pitcher and move along down the road.
That's because Coal City hurler Paityn Smith was just masterful in the circle.
The junior right-hander faced just three batters over the minimum of 21, allowed a harmless pair of two-out singles, walked none and struck out 10 as the Lady Bulldogs hit only three balls out of the infield during a 4-0 Interstate Eight Conference defeat at the hands of the Lady Coalers here at the SHS Athletic Fields.
Streator (7-16, 4-9) received a base hit from Maddie Barichello in the fourth that broke up Smith's perfect game followed by Anna Yanek's safety in the sixth. Grace Schmitz also reached, she on an error in the seventh.
But other than that trio of baserunners, the Lady Bulldogs could not dent Smith's pitching armor.
"I wish we would have been more aggressive against her at the plate and made better contact today, but she did a great job," said SHS coach Dawn Williams. "We didn't give up though. We just had one bad inning. We kept working to try to get some hits, but it just didn't happen."
The inning Williams was referring to came in the top of the second, when the Lady Coalers (9-12, 7-6) scored all four of their runs off of Streator starting and losing pitcher Aubrey Durdan (7 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K).
With one out, Kristyn Daigger (2-for-3) doubled to the fence in center. Then with two gone, Durdan walked Smith and surrendered an RBI single to Sam Olsen that plated Daigger to make the score 1-0. Makenna Crater followed with a two-run bloop single to right that put Coal City up 3-0. Crater then stole second and plated after a Streator error which completed the day's scoring.
Durdan retired 11 consecutive batters after that before the Lady Coalers loaded the bases in the sixth to no avail.
"Aubrey did a great job in the circle today, and I was very proud of her effort," Williams said. "We just didn't make some plays we needed to make defensively behind her in that inning where they scored all their runs, and of course we couldn't support her offensively either against their pitcher."
In addition to the 10 strikeouts, Smith recorded nine groundball outs, retired one on an infield popup and another on a flyout to center.
"She (Smith) had a one-hitter against Westmont the other day, and she's been pitching well all week," said Coal City coach Stephanie Harmon. "She's hitting her spots, and as long as she keeps pitching like this we'll have a solid end to the regular season and then hopefully into the postseason."
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Coal City 4, Streator 0
COAL CITY (4) – Cullick 2b 4-0-0-0, Youskevtch rf 3-0-0-0. Singleton cr/rf 1-1-0-0, Emerson 3b 4-0-0-0, Ragain lf 4-0-0-0, Daigger 1b 3-1-2-0, K. Christensen dp 3-0-1-0, Smith p 1-0-0-0, Olsen ss 3-1-1-1, Crater cf 2-1-1-2, Pelnarsh ph 1-0-1-0, Teague c 0-0-0-0. Totals 29-4-6-3.
STREATOR (0) – Yanek lf/cf 3-0-1-0, Magana ss 3-0-0-0, Barichello c 3-0-1-0, McClellan cr/lf 1-0-0-0, G. Schmitz 1b 3-0-0-0, Durdan p 3-0-0-0, Adkins 2b 3-0-0-0, Aukland 3b 2-0-0-0, Gubbels cf 1-0-0-0, Davis rf 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-0-2-0.
Coal City (9-12, 7-6) 040 000 0 — 4 6 1
Streator (7-16, 4-9) 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
LOB – Coal City 6; Streator 3. 2B – Daigger. SB – Cullick, Olsen, Crater.
Coal City ip r er h bb k
Smith (W) 7.0 0 0 2 0 10
Durdan (L) 7.0 4 3 6 2 4