Elverado finishes second at Class S State Softball Finals
(Doug Daniels Photo)
By Doug Daniels
1351sports.com / elveradosports.com
October 4, 2018
(Coulterville, Ill.) - Not many expected the Elverado Junior High School softball team to return to the State championship game this fall after losing several key players to graduation, but the Lady Falcons did just that, despite entering the postseason with a record barely above the .500 mark.
The Falcons were defeated 8-5 in the final round by Crab Orchard, but earned their third consecutive State Finals trophy in Class S, after finishing third in 2016 and first in 2017.
"They always say you want to get hot at the right time, and that's what we did," said EJHS head coach Jacob Emling. "To get here we knocked off two teams that had beaten us previously. The girls put in the time and the effort. Nobody expected us to be here."
Hits by Jaylen Marshall (single), Ellie Yates (single), Macy Whitaker (triple) and Emily Wisely (double) in the first inning gave Elverado an early 3-1 lead, but the offense would manage just two hits over the course of the next five innings while Crab Orchard began to build a lead.
Three hits by the Lady Trojans in the top of the second led to a tie ball game, and a single, a walk, and a pair of sacrifices in the third gave Crab a 4-3 lead. An unearned run in the sixth extended the advantage to 5-3, then two more errors and a couple hits gave the Trojans their biggest lead at 8-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
The Falcons continued to fight, as Jaci Tuthill, Maddie Dunmyer and Maci Caraway all singled to start the bottom of the seventh. Marshall singled with one out and Whitaker did the same with two down, but EJHS couldn't get closer than three runs back.
"They just kept battling all the way through from the first round of regionals up through the last inning of the championship game," Emling said. "We talk about bend but don't break, we bent pretty hard there on defense (in the top of the seventh). We didn't break on offense, we were able to put ourselves in a situation with a chance to win, it just didn't work out."
Marshall (3-4, 2B), Yates (1-4), Whitaker (2-4, 3B), Wisely (2-3, 2 2B), Tuthill (1-3), Dunmyer (1-3) and Caraway (1-3) had Elverado's hits against Crab Orchard.
The Lady Falcons booked a return trip to the SIJHSAA Class S State Softball championship game by defeating St. Bruno-Tamaroa 8-5 on October 2.
After stranding base runners in the first two innings, Elverado drew first blood in the third with a rally that began with a triple from Bridgett Elder. Six batters would draw walks in the inning and a seventh was hit by a pitch, and Elder later singled in what turned into a six-run frame for EJHS.
St. Bruno-Tamaroa - also the Lady Falcons - responded with five runs on five hits in the fourth inning, but Elverado put it away with two more in the fifth after walks to Elder and Marshall and a base hit by Yates.
Elder (2-3, 3B, 2 BB), Yates (1-3, BB), Kennedy Morse (1-3, BB) and Tuthill (1-4) had Elverado's hits. Morse and Tuthill shared the pitching duties in the win over St. Bruno-Tamaroa.
EJHS finished their season with an overall record of 16-11.
Photos by Doug Daniels / ElveradoSports.com