Lady Falcons return to Sectional championship game after beating Pope County
By Doug Daniels
1351sports.com / elveradosports.com
May 22, 2019
(Steeleville, Ill.) - Elverado softball advanced to the Sectional championship game for the second consecutive year, knocking off Pope County on May 22 by the score of 8-5, setting up a rematch from last year’s Sectional final with the Goreville Lady Blackcats.
“It took us one time through the lineup to adjust to the pitcher, but then we started to hit her,” said EHS head coach Donette Wheatley. “We played solid defensively and took advantage of their mistakes. We have got to keep our heads about us Friday, we can't sulk or get our heads down. We have to straight up play some ball. They are going to be ready for us and we have to do the same.”
The Falcons took control in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run, two-out rally. Emma Funk singled, stole two bases, then scored on an error before Allie Whittington drove in the second run with a double.
An inning later, another two-out rally produced three more runs for Elverado. Reese Funk reached on an error, Sydney Schenk tripled for an RBI, Zoe Maple walked, Emma Funk drove in a run with a base hit, then another error and a bases-loaded walk to Whittington followed, making it 5-0.
Emma Yates doubled and scored on a passed ball in the fifth to make it 6-0, but then the Lady Pirates started to show signs of life on offense.
Whittington had stranded all four base runners she had allowed through five, but surrendered a single in front of a two-run homer in the top of the sixth as Pope County fought to stay alive. Elverado got both of those runs back in the bottom of the inning though, getting RBI hits from Morgan Bernardini (double) and Chloe Barnes (single).
Things got a little scary in the top of the seventh for EHS, as with two outs Whittington issued a walk, hit two batters, then walked another in front of an RBI single, but she was able to limit the damage and escape with the victory for the Lady Falcons.
Whittington finished with five earned runs allowed on seven hits and four walks with thirteen strikeouts, improving to 22-2 on the season in the circle.
E. Funk (3-4, 2 R, RBI, 3B), Bernardini (1-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B), Whittington (1-3, 2 RBI, BB), Barnes (1-4, RBI), Yates (1-4, R, 2B), R. Funk (1-3, R), Schenk (1-3, R, RBI) and Kaity Lewis (1-4) all had hits for Elverado.
Photos by Doug Daniels / ElveradoSports.com